NEW YORK — The producers of "Speed-the-Plow" have filed a grievance with Actors' Equity Association, the stage actors' union, against Jeremy Piven for abruptly leaving the Broadway revival last month.
News of the filing was announced Friday by lead producer Jeffrey Richards, who declined further comment.
The actor quit the David Mamet comedy less than two months after it opened to favorable reviews at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. Piven's doctor said the 43-year-old actor was unable perform because of high levels of mercury in his system, possibly caused by eating large amounts of raw fish.
Piven's publicist, Samantha Mast, called the producers' claims "absurd and outrageous."
"He withdrew from the play due to medical necessity on the advice of his doctors, after he was hospitalized and warned by his physicians that enforced rest was necessary in order to avoid serious medical problems, including a heart attack," Mast said in a statement Friday.
No date for the grievance proceedings was announced.
Earlier this week, Piven, appearing on ABC's "Good Morning America," defended his departure from "Speed-the-Plow."
The actor said he was diagnosed with mercury poisoning the first week of rehearsals for the play and finally succumbed to the illness when he passed out in his home.
"I've never not completed anything in my life. ... I wanted the show to continue forever," Piven said on the early-morning television program.
Piven also denied reports saying the "Entourage" star had been partying late at night and was bored with the play.
He said he was embarrassed by the bad press, and "wanted to come here and say the truth, which is I was brought to my knees, from the second week of rehearsal. ... And I didn't think I would make it through previews. And I did. And I was proud of that."
William H. Macy currently is playing Piven's role of an ambitious Hollywood producer in the production, which also stars Raul Esparza and Elisabeth Moss.