Page last updated at 09:52 GMT, Tuesday, 19 May 2009 10:52 UK

Passion settlement deal reached

Mel Gibson
Mel Gibson shared the writer's credits with Benedict Fitzgerald

Mel Gibson has settled a legal dispute with a screenwriter over his 2004 film The Passion of the Christ.

Screenwriter Benedict Fitzgerald sued Gibson for $10m (£6.5m) in February 2008 claiming the star vastly understated the film's budget.

Mr Fitzgerald claimed he took a salary which was "substantially less than what he would have taken had he known the true budget of the film".

No details of the settlement were filed at Los Angeles Superior Court.

The screenwriter said Gibson told him the budget for the movie would cost up to $7m (£4.5m), when the actual costs reached towards $25m - $50m (£16m - £32m).

He also claimed he was refused extra money when the movie became a blockbuster, earning more than $611m (£395m) worldwide.

Mr Fitzgerald's lawyers also claimed the Hollywood star spent tens of thousands of dollars on his children's education while filming in Italy and paid a chiropractor $78,000 (£50,000).

The said the combined expenses resulted in a lower payment being made to the screenwriter.

It is not clear how much Mr Fitzgerald was paid for his services.

Several of Mr Fitzgerald's claims had been thrown out in recent court hearings, with Gibson's lawyers saying the actual amount in dispute was significantly lower.

Both sides battled over the film's finances for months with a judge last year ordering Gibson to answer questions about the film's planning and finances.

Lawyers for the actor and Oscar-winning director argued that he did not know the intricacies of the film's budget.

A spokesperson for Mr Gibson was not available to comment on the settlement.



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