- Last Updated: 9:09 AM, July 5, 2012
- Posted: 12:26 AM, July 5, 2012
It’s like making “Citizen Kane II.”
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios is stepping into the legal ring in a bid to knock out a sequel to the Martin Scorsese- Robert De Niro boxing epic “Raging Bull,” which execs fear will be so bad that it will “tarnish the value” of the original.
The studio filed suit on Tuesday in Los Angeles against both the producers of the new $13 million flick — called “Raging Bull II” — and boxer Jake LaMotta, whose life is the basis of both films.
MGM claims the new movie violates a contract that gives it the right to tell the tale, which is both a sequel and a prequel to Scorsese’s landmark 1980 “Raging Bull.”
From his Manhattan apartment, LaMotta yesterday told The Post that news of the suit hit him like a sucker punch, and he’s not up to going toe-to-toe with Hollywood heavyweights.
“How can you fight a company that big?” the 90-year-old former middleweight champ said, adding, “All of these business things, I don’t bother with it because I’m not capable, physically or mentally, because I don’t hear so good.”
MGM claims it holds a 1976 contract signed by LaMotta granting the studio the rights to his 1970 autobiography, “Raging Bull: My Story,” with co-writer Peter Savage. The studio says the contract prohibits LaMotta and Savage from producing any other work based on the “Raging Bull” story without giving MGM the first chance to accept or reject such an offer.
In the suit, MGM also derides “Raging Bull II” as nothing but “a low-budget B-movie.”
Due out next year, it stars some well-known actors such as Joe Mantegna and Tom Sizemore,Natasha Henstridge and Harry Hamlin
The flick stars “Boardwalk Empire” actor William Forsythe as LaMotta, a role De Niro made legendary in the original movie, winning a Best Actor Oscar and getting himself in both the best and worst shape of his life to portray the hotheaded boxer.
Yesterday, LaMotta said that “Raging Bull II” has just finished filming on a budget of $13 million — and puts the blame of the rights lawsuit on producers.
“It was up to them to check everything out,” he said. “I’m not involved.”
Reps for the film producers and MGM could not be reached for comment.