Director of Mel Gibson movie ‘Professor and the Madman’ seeks to seize and destroy producer’s cut

The director of the Mel Gibson film “The Professor and the Madman” filed for a restraining order on Wednesday, seeking to force producer Voltage Pictures to turn over its cut of the film so that it can be destroyed.

Farhad Safinia, the director and writer of the film about the Oxford English Dictionary, is accusing Voltage of violating his copyright to the screenplay. He claims he never signed away his right to the project, and never had a formal contract to direct the film.

In an application to the court, Safinia posted his entire 126-page screenplay as an attachment.

Safinia alleges that Voltage refused to shoot sufficient scenes at Oxford University, and ultimately took the film away from him. He says the Voltage cut of the film does not reflect his wishes.

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“Defendants took the existing footage and pieced it together themselves without my vision or input. I never authorized Defendants to make their version of the film,” Safinia says in a declaration.

Safinia accuses Voltage of screening portions of its cut of the film for agents at UTA and CAA over the summer, and of shopping the film at the Cannes Film Festival and at the Toronto International Film Festival. He also claims that Voltage has shopped the project to Netflix.

Safinia is asking the court to bar Voltage from releasing the film. He also wants the court to impound Voltage’s copies and allow for Voltage’s version to be destroyed.

Voltage’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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