The way MGM figures it, if anyone is going to make an ill-conceived prequel/sequel to Raging Bull, it's going to be them. And they're pretty sure that statement is legally enforceable.
According to THR, the studio Tuesday filed a formal complaint in LA Superior Court against former champ Jake LaMotta as well as RBII Production, a production company whose name alone indicates their commitment about putting together something called Raging Bull II. The lawsuit demands a cease to the ongoing production of the film (seen above), which RBII began last month with William Forsythe in the unenviable starring role.
As rationale for the stop order, MGM claims that their original 1976 deal for LaMotta's autobiography gave them perpetual first-look rights to any sequel that might be conceived. Essentially, LaMotta should have first offered a Raging Bull follow-up to MGM, so that they could have said, "Hot shit, yes; a belated sequel is just what we needed to diversify our sad line-up of RoboCop and Carrie remakes!"
In response to the filing, 90-year-old LaMotta told the New York Post:
"How can you fight a company that big? 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."
If MGM wins their suit, they'll reportedly receive "monetary damages and a preliminary and permanent injunction against distribution and promotion of the sequel." But the good news for RBII Production is, if they win, now they'll get the opportunity to write in that fantastic "I don't hear so good" line for William Forsythe to mutter.