Green Book producer Nick Vallelonga has gone off route when it comes to paying dozens of crew members on the upcoming That’s Amore! starring John Travolta, Katherine Heigl, Christopher Walken, Talia Shire and Drea de Mateo.
According to a complaint filed in federal court in New York on Dec. 8 by the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, double Oscar winner Vallelonga’s That Amore Movie LLC has reneged on an arbitration deal struck between the parties on August 18 this year to pay union members for work performed in 2022 on the upcoming rom-com. The 77 IATSE members specifically affected performed the duties of “cinematographer, camera operator, camera assistant, editor, costume designer, wardrobe supervisor, hair and make-up stylists, production designer, art director, scenic artist, electrician, grip, construction, script supervisor, production coordinator, and accountant,” says the Matt Loeb-led union in the eight-page filing.
“Defendant failed to timely pay wages and benefits to the Union Workers for work performed in October and November 2022, failed to make the required pension and health contributions to the various benefit funds, and failed to act in accordance with other terms and conditions set forth in the CBAs,” the complaint from IATSE Local 600 and a plethora of other locals claim of the union members left out in the financial cold by the That’s Amore director.
Read the That’s Amore! complaint from IATSE here. By the way, CBA stands for collective bargaining agreement
“Defendant failed to carry out its obligations under the Settlement Agreement by failing to submit the necessary paperwork in a timely fashion and by failing to make all the agreed upon payments within sixty (60) days of execution of the Settlement Agreement (i.e., by October 17, 2023,) except for certain payments pursuant to Sections 2(a) and (b) of the Settlement Agreement,” IATSE’s Spivak Lipton lawyers add, noting the payments (amount sealed in the summer settlement) were to be paid in full by Oct. 17.
A Notice of Default was filed against That’s Amore Movie LLC on October 6, 2023, and October 18, 2023, IATSE say. What seems to rub IASTE even more the wrong way is that “the Producers continue to promote the film including but not limited to engaging in expensive marketing strategies and incurring costly expenses such as the recording of a soundtrack with full orchestra despite the non-payment of contractually owed wages and benefits.”
To that end, in a statement today, IATSE pulled back the curtain a bit to reveal that after the 34 million budgeted That’s Amore! supposedly ran out of cash in October of last year, it “owed more than $570,000 in combined wages, as well as an estimated hundred thousand dollars or more of benefit contributions” to workers “for weeks ending October 29, 2022, November 5, 2022 and November 12, 2022.”
That “full and final payment of the Total Settlement Amount” did not happen, say IATSE – and now the union want a judge to “confirm the Award in its entirety and order compliance therewith” plus a few more fees.
Representatives for Vallelonga did not respond to request for comment from Deadline on the legal action. If and when they do get back to us, we’ll update this post.
IATSE boss Loeb was not so silent on the topic.
“This lawsuit underscores our commitment to vigorously protecting our members and ensuring that their rights are not trampled upon,” he said in a statement Thursday. “In this country, when you work, you get paid. Anything less is theft. We will not stand idly by while companies like That’s Amore Movie, LLC attempt to undermine the fair and hard-won terms of our collective agreements. We will relentlessly pursue all avenues to ensure justice is served.”
In a typo, the complaint calls Vallelonga Green Book’s “Director and Screenwriter.” Peter Farrelly actually directed Green Book. Vallelonga was a producer and co-wrote the movie’s script with Brian Hayes Currie snd Farrelly
Having started production back on Sept. 19, 2022, according to the IATSE suit, the long brewing That’s Amore! has Travolta as a longtime bachelor and Heigl as an introvert who end up falling for each other. In typical rom-com fashion, it all goes sideways when their respective families decide to get involved in the new relationship too.
As well as writing and helming the flick, Vallelonga is producing That’s Amore! through his Vallelonga Productions, alongside Cassian Elwes for Elevated FIlms, and Brenda Emmett & Vince Emmett of American Troubadours.
Having appeared in the likes of The Godfather and Sopranos prequel movie The Many Saints of Newark as an actor, Vallelonga won his two Oscars, along with a Golden Globe and other prizes, as the writer and producer of 91st Academy Awards’ Best Picture winner Green Book. The movie was based on the true story of Vallelonga’s father, Tony Lip and pianist Don Shirley. Starring Viggo Mortensen and Oscar winner Mahershala Ali, the Nov. 2018 released Green Book grossed over $321M worldwide.