The producers of Speed-the-Plow, the David Mamet Broadway play that Piven exited last month amid a doctor's finding of the star's "amazingly, shockingly high" mercury level, have filed a grievance with the leading stage actors union.
The statement today by Jeffrey Richards Associates did not elaborate on why the grievance was filed, although if a Mamet remark last month about Piven leaving show business "to pursue a career as a thermometer" is any indication, the mercury thing didn't fly with Plow powers that be.
Piven's publicist did not immediately respond to messages seeking a response.
Actors Equity spokeswoman Maria Somma could not specifically comment on the Piven grievance.
But generally speaking, why would someone, say, a producer, file a grievance against someone else, say, an actor who may or may not be the Emmy-winning TV star of Entourage?
"You can go to grievance over something that is in the contract...and somebody feels there is a violation of the contract," Somma said.
Arbitration is the next potential step in the process. Somma said there are too many potential outcomes to comment on what could or would happen to the losing party in such a hearing.
Somma, however, did take one possible scenario off the table: The Randy Quaid death sentence.
Last February, Quaid was banned from Actors Equity forever after his fellow actors from a Seattle run of Lone Star Love protested that the one-time Oscar nominee's behavior forced the closure of the show before it made it to Broadway.
Somma said only grievances filed by other actors can result in the removal of actors from their union.
Last Sunday at the Golden Globes, Piven, for one, only had nice things to say about his former Speed-the-Plow costars, Raul Esparza and Elisabeth Moss, telling E! News that both were brilliant, "and they deserve Tonys."
Piven's Globe appearance—he was there to serve his nomination for Entourage—came only about three weeks after the "amazingly, shockingly high" mercury diagnosis. At the time, Piven's doctor said the actor had been left "literally paralytic" by too much sushi and Chinese herbs.
"I followed my doctors' orders—enforced rest is what they said, and that's what I did," Piven told E! News. "I've been detoxing the mercury and resting for about a month now."
Piven, who was to have remained with Speed-the-Plow into February, was replaced in the show first by Tony winner Norbert Leo Butz, and then, as of Tuesday, veteran Mamet interpreter William H. Macy.