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Tuesday, 18 February, 2003, 18:19 GMT
Penn 'lost role' over Iraq views
Sean Penn
Sean Penn has responded to Bing's suit with his own action
Liz Hurley's ex-boyfriend Steve Bing and actor Sean Penn are suing each other over a film role Penn claims he lost because of his opposition to war with Iraq.

Movie producer Bing has accused Penn of being "crazy and irrational" and said the star's representatives "menacingly" warned him that Penn could not be controlled.

Bing filed for 9m in Los Angeles on Tuesday over the part in the film Why Men Shouldn't Marry.

But Penn has also filed for 6m, and said Bing was "borrowing a page from the dark era of Hollywood blacklisting".

Liz Hurley
Bing is the father of Liz Hurley's son
Penn, the former husband of Madonna, was reported to have been due to play a man who gets over a painful divorce by becoming an anti-marriage counsellor.

Penn said Bing allegedly backed out of a deal for the actor to star in the film after Penn had appeared on television in January voicing his opposition to a US war with Iraq.

Bing said Penn had demanded the money after the part fell through, even though no contract had been signed.

According to Bing's lawsuit, Penn said he would claim he was dropped because of his public opposition to war in Iraq if he was not paid.

"Penn's representatives menacingly warned Bing that Penn could not be controlled, and that he was crazy and irrational," the lawsuit, filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court, said.

'Pay or play'

Penn, the star of Dead Man Walking and Carlito's Way, had been lined up to appear alongside Woody Allen in the film, which is being written and directed by Bing.

Bing said he invested millions of dollars in the film, including paying 1m to sign Woody Allen.

The lawsuit said Penn told his agent to delay signing a deal with Bing's Shangri-La Entertainment production company until he got paid under a "pay or play" agreement.

A "pay or play" clause means actors are paid even if the movie is not made or if they are replaced before or during filming.

Bing, who has produced films like the 2000 remake of Get Carter and Night at the Golden Eagle, starring Vinnie Jones, has recently moved into writing and directing bigger projects.

The first film he co-wrote, slapstick comedy Kangaroo Jack, went to the top of the United States box office chart in January.

See also:

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