Looks like Mel Gibson is in for a grilling.
A Los Angeles judge has ordered the Oscar winner to sit for a deposition in a battle over money from his megahit The Passion of the Christ.
Screenwriter Benedict Fitzgerald claims he was screwed out of $10 million from the 2004 blockbuster and wants to ask Gibson to explain why.
In a ruling today, Superior Court Judge Gregory W. Alarcon agreed.
According to Fitzgerald's court documents, Gibson got the writer to accept a lower-than-normal fee to cowrite Passion by insisting it was a very low-budget indie production and that Gibson himself would refrain from taking any revenue until he had properly compensated his crew.
Some $600 million later, Fitzgerald wants some payback.
Gibson has been trying to keep the potentially embarrassing spat on the down-low. He successfully convinced the judge to keep all his money matters out of the public eye—only the dueling lawyers can go over the books.
Gibson was also trying to dodge the dep to avoid answering questions about how he budgeted Passion and to justify some unusual line items, such as why he charged his kids' school tuition to the production.
In a court declaration, Gibson claims he was in the dark about such matters, insisting his production company's accountant handled the cash flow.
The actor also says he is superbusy right now shooting the Martin Campbell-directed thriller Edge of Darkness, Gibson's first starring role since 2000's What Women Want.
"Production would be severely disrupted if I had to miss a day or more of shooting to attend (a) deposition in Los Angeles," Gibson states, adding that he's in practically every scene.
But his lawyer says that if the judge orders him to be deposed, he'll find some time to squeeze it in.