Like the film’s main character, Black Swan seems to have something of a split personality. There’s the side that proudly displays a victorious cast, a united crew and an enviable clutch of awards. Then there’s the feuding side, which just recently included a dancing double who claimed she provided the large majority of what was portrayed as Natalie Portman’s footwork, and another (possibly more messy battle) among producers. Aaron Kaufman, the film’s financier, has been sued by a former employer who claims to have missed out on earning millions of dollars and producer credit on the film.
Overnight LLC’s Rick Schwartz (a former assistant to Harvey Weinstein) sued Kaufman back in December for $10 million, claiming he misrepresented his knowledge, skill and experience about the financing of motion pictures and committed "gross lapses in judgement" thus leading to non-participation in the project, not to mention a severed relationship with film-maker Robert Rodriguez. Despite the suit’s filing, papers were not successfully handed to Kaufman until last month’s South by Southwest festival in Austin, due to his alleged elusiveness. Now Kaufman is fighting to get a judge set aside the default judgement (a result of his failure to respond) before he countersues.
As is to be expected, Kaufman’s side of the story, filed in court on Friday, is somewhat different. He claims that he brought Rodriguez to Overnight – not the other way around – and it was his job to secure financing for Black Swan. According to Kaufman, he soon learned that Schwartz was (among other things) running personal expenses through Overnight. After questioning Schwartz, and allegedly infuriating him by doing so, “erratic and questionable behavior” on his part is said to have soon followed. This eventually led to Kaufman being terminated – and Schwartz allegedly sending emails from Kaufman’s account, purportedly intended to damage his relationships in the industry.
As such, Kaufman intends to file counterclaims for breach of his employment agreement, defamation, and identity theft.