Actor Michael Keaton (Mr. Mom, Batman, and now Birdman) tried his hand at directing a film called The Merry Gentleman. It’s about a young woman (Boardwalk Empire’s Kelly Macdonald) who escapes her abusive husband and then falls for a suicidal hit man (Keaton). But the plot isn’t really important. Due to allegedly not living up to his contractual obligations , Keaton is being sued by the film’s production company, which spent $5.5 million to make The Merry Gentleman. The movie grossed a total of $346,286.
According to the complaint, “Keaton was difficult during the editing process, going fly fishing when he should have been working on the film and then delivering an unsatisfactory cut.” The producer and the screenwriter cut an alternative version but Keaton said he wouldn’t promote it at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. The producers relented and yet still no commercial success. Keaton’s attorneys say “the Directing Agreement does not make Keaton the guarantor of the Film’s commercial success.” Keaton says the film was a “critical and artistic success.” He also said that there’s no secret sauce to producing a commercial success. “Nobody knows anything,” screenwriter William Goldman (The Princess Bride, Misery, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) once said about making movies.