It looks like MGM is hoping to do what many "Raging Bull" fans could not: Stop "Raging Bull II," a sequel to the 1980 classic without original participants Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro, from happening.
According to Deadline.com, MGM has filed a lawsuit against boxer Jake LaMotta -- on whose life "Raging Bull" and its sequel are based -- as well as RB II Productions to stop the film from being released. You can read the claim over at Deadline.com, but the crux of the matter for MGM isn't simply good taste and the wish to keep a classic film from getting an unworthy sequel: When the studio signed a deal to turn LaMotta's 1970 memoir into a movie, it also acquired the rights to his yet unwritten sequel. LaMotta wrote a follow-up to "Raging Bull" in 1986.
UPDATE: "Raging Bull 2" is no longer titled "Raging Bull 2." Click here for details. The original story continues below.
“How can you fight a company that big?” LaMotta told the New York Post on Wednesday. “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.” LaMotta said that it was MGM's fault for not doing its due diligence on "Raging Bull II" in the first place. The film has completed its shooting process and is scheduled for release sometime next year.
Martin Guigui directed "Raging Bull II," with William Forsythe playing LaMotta, a role that won De Niro his only Best Actor trophy. (De Niro had previously won Best Supporting Actor for his role in "The Godfather Part II.")
“I understand [criticism] because it's such an iconic, beautiful and amazing first film -- one of the great films maybe of all time," Forsythe told The Calgary Herald back in May. "But our story has a lot more heart and I think it's a beautiful depiction of who Jake really is.”
For his part, Scorsese has stayed somewhat above the fray. He addressed "Raging Bull II" in an interview with GQ.com earlier this year.
I don't think I could revisit the material, as they say. I think we said what we had to say at that time. All of us moved on. Different aspects of the same story basically keep making the rounds. [...] Rise and fall and self-destruction and the suffering and somehow coming through, in some cases. Coming through the suffering so that you change in a way. I don't know. It's dealing with yourself, really. Ultimately, at the end of 'Raging Bull,' he's looking in a mirror and he's at comfort with himself, to a certain extent. He's not fighting, he's not beating himself up. That's all. So, I don't know where they're going to go.
Head over to Deadline.com for more on the MGM lawsuit to prevent "Raging Bull II" from reaching theaters.