Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach has been hit with a lawsuit after bailing on a planned documentary about Chicago blues icon Howlin' Wolf.
Producers at Smokestack Lightning Inc. filed a breach of a verbal agreement lawsuit against the rocker in Los Angeles County Superior Court last Wednesday (17Aug16), alleging Auerbach drove up the costs of the film, but then quit the project and refused to reimburse the company for the expenses.
Smokestack Lightning: The Legendary Howlin' Wolf, which tells the story of Chester Arthur Burnett, features a number of interviews with prominent artists like Auerbach, Jimmy Page and Buddy Guy, who have been affected by Howlin' Wolf and his music.
In the documents obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Smokestack bosses say they asked Auerbach to take on the roles of director and executive producer. However, he only agreed to the responsibilities verbally, and signed on to helm the film in exchange for 9 per cent of the profits, and with the promise of having complete creative control of the documentary.
However, he made the deal in post-production, and his demands allegedly included many alterations such as re-shooting interviews, filming new ones and retaining a new writer.
The plaintiffs also claim that Auerbach and his team made it clear that if producers expressed "even a modicum of discomfort" with the expensive cost of the alterations, the rocker would consider backing out, so as a result, Smokestack chiefs agreed to his requests.
Auerbach eventually left the project before the film was finalised, but producers claim he refused to pay them back for the costs they incurred because of the changes he demanded.
Smokestack execs are suing for breach of contract, as well as the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, unfair business practices and negligent misrepresentation.
They are seeking damages and restitution of no less than $100,000 (£76,120).