At Broadway’s Foxwoods Theatre, Spider-Man takes on the Green Goblin in a gravity-defying battle over Manhattan eight times every week. But that’s nothing compared to the fight that’s still unfolding off-stage between the producers of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark and ex-director Julie Taymor. Yesterday, Taymor filed new documents in her $1 million lawsuit — in which she claims she’s owed royalties for the show despite being fired last March — revealing private emails that paint composers Bono and the Edge, co-writer Glen Berger, and other collaborators in a harshly negative light. The producers counter-sued Taymor for breach of contract in January and the suit was reportedly settled last month, with producers agreeing to pay Taymor royalties. But if Taymor’s new revelations are any indication, the conflict isn’t over just yet.
Taymor’s new filings, first reported yesterday by the New York Times, feature emails and transcripts of recorded conversations that suggest that Taymor was thwarted in her efforts to improve the show’s trouble areas, including its complicated script, ambitious technical elements in the scenery, and Bono and the Edge’s much-maligned score. More pointedly, and perhaps more damagingly in the court of public opinion, the documents imply that Bono was of little help during the show’s crisis period last January, when savage early reviews plagued the $75 million show. (Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark is now one of Broadway’s top-grossing shows, pulling in as much as $2.9 million a week.) As described by co-writer Glen Berger in one of the emails excerpted in the documents:
“[T]he meeting was postponed til 11 p.m., when Bono was going toshow up – except he showed up in our room with ChristyTurlington and a couple other supermodels, and he had already hada few beers, rendering him useless.”
When reached for comment, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark publicist Rick Miramontez referred to the statement he provided the New York Times: “The producers are sorry that Julie filed this suit and do not believe it is in the best interests of the show or the people involved with it. They continue to believe an amicable resolution would be better for everyone — including Taymor.”
Miramontez also released a statement on behalf of Dale Cendali, the lawyer representing the producers against Taymor. “Taymor’s copyright claims are baseless. The only similarity between the new book and the old book is the classic Spider-Man story which Taymor does not own.”
Taymor’s lawsuit is reportedly set to go to trial next January.