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September 7th 2022

StarWatch: Bo 2.0

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Welcome back to StarWatch, kiddos. I’m Callie C and still with me is our all-knowing legal eagle, Monroe Kubo, who thankfully didn’t run away when I hounded her for legal advice during the break. It was definitely for a friend though.

Monroe Kubo: Oh, come on Callie, I would never abandon you. I’ll just mark our little consultation as a billable hour.

That’s why you’re the best, which is exactly why I forced you to stick around to give us your expert opinion on the biggest scandal of the week. Former teen dream Bo Lynn has sued the producers of Time Riser for lost wages after being fired from the vid’s starring role.

The former heartthrob, who’s been pounding the pavement to flip a flagging career while dealing with an extremely messy and public separation from Julie Marks, finally landed a lead role in Time Riser, the highly anticipated new vid from Amadi Murnau. According to insiders, Bo believed this role would be his ticket back to the A-list and wholly dedicated himself to preparing for it.

Time Riser is, of course, based on the immersive, action-packed apocalyptic survival sim of the same name, which even I’ve heard about so it must be big. The budget is allegedly astronomical, partly due to Murnau insisting that the vid’s massive action sequences use practical effects. Bo Lynn bought into her vision wholeheartedly and, according to the vid’s producers, took it upon himself to hire an entourage of trainers and survival specialists to prepare him for the role. That’s weird, right? Aren’t these costs that a production would normally pick up?

Monroe Kubo: Absolutely. If a production wants an actor to be, say, proficient at sword fighting, they would arrange everything to make that happen. That way they can rehearse exactly what’s needed on set and minimize the chance of anything going wrong.

And, boy oh boy, did things go wrong. Although verifying certain specifics has been difficult – and trust me I’ve tried – I’ve confirmed that Bo died, yes died, and regened several times while preparing for the role. This allegedly includes him freezing to death after spending a night alone in the mountains and falling to death – shattering almost every bone along the way – while free soloing a canyon wall. Talk about taking method acting to an absolutely absurd extreme.

When filming began, the producers claim the injuries Bo suffered during his intense prep hampered his ability to do stunts. Multiple regens over a short period of time compounded these physical issues. The producers claim that health and safety concerns left them no choice but to fire Bo and recast brawny David Brundle in the role.

Monroe Kubo: Oh, I like him.

Now, here’s where things get truly weird and wild. Because Bo has good representation and a bit of cache from his early days as a star, his contract had a “pay or play” clause. Monroe, can you explain exactly what that is? And how can I get one?

Monroe Kubo: Essentially, it’s a provision that says Bo gets paid no matter whether the vid gets made or not. So, if say the financing falls through, or if a storm destroys all the sets and production shuts down instead of rebuilding, then he still gets paid.

And it’s my understanding that this clause would also be triggered if that person was fired, right?

Monroe Kubo: Correct, but I asked around and no one could think of an instance where that has happened. Typically it’s only the biggest stars that get the “pay or play” clause. It’s considered an extra incentive to get them to join a production.

Like a guarantee that signing onto a project will be worth it for them. That way if they hold certain dates and potentially turn down other projects, they’re still compensated for that time.

Monroe Kubo: Exactly. Time is money, particularly at that level of fame.

So here’s what I don’t understand, why did the producers of Time Riser even give this clause to Bo? I mean, he hasn’t been a big draw for years and probably needed the vid more than the vid needed him?

Monroe Kubo: Fair question. I can only speculate here, but I’d guess that part of it was to cater to Bo’s ego and make him feel like the star the vid needed. And, no offense to him, but this production seems to be more about the spectacle than the stars. By the time he was cast, the production was probably already greenlit, so I bet they saw no harm in giving it to him.

Now, despite losing his life a few times, his strange method of clashing extreme sports and acting prep wouldn’t be such a big scandal if the production paid his full contract after recasting him. But that’s not what happened here. Instead, they claimed that Bo dying and regening essentially voided the “pay or play” clause in the contract. What’s their argument here? Am I a different person after I regen?

Monroe Kubo: According to the producer’s argument, yes and no.

Well thanks for clearing that up.

Monroe Kubo: The producers are asserting that the “pay or play” provision only applies to the Bo who was initially cast. The version of him without the scars and who could run without pain. They’re not saying Bo Lynn is no longer Bo Lynn. They’re saying their contract was with a very specific version of Bo and when he regened it voided the “pay or play” clause.

Even though he regened due to his preparations for the role.

Monroe Kubo: The production’s motion to have the suit thrown out explicitly states they were not involved in assembling Bo’s training team and are in no way responsible for what happened to him.

But Bo’s lawyers have claimed that he was strongly encouraged by both the producers and Murnau to be in the best shape of his life and prepared to do his own stunts.

Monroe Kubo: I mean, it’s quite a leap to interpret that being told to be ready for a physically demanding job means “go free solo canyon walls.” Unless he has comms or a recording of a conversation where someone from the production explicitly told him to go to such extremes, I don’t see how that helps his case. And I believe the producers are saying that they would have used different trainers which would have led to a different outcome.

I’ve heard so many rumors about the absolutely bonkers budget for this vid, like they flew in a Caterpillar filled with temperature-controlled crates full of snow from Vann because Murnau insisted that the snow where they were didn’t have the right microstructure to catch the light the way she needed it.

Monroe Kubo: Oh, haven’t heard that one yet.

But considering that they’ll go to those extremes for this production, why didn’t they just pay Bo?

Monroe Kubo: I commed a handful of contacts who are familiar with the project and each one had said the same thing – budget overrun. Simply, this decision seems like a cost-saving measure meant to keep the production from spiraling further out of control. I don’t know the exact figures but Brundle definitely has earned some serious credits for past roles, so they are definitely not cheap. And don’t forget that the production had to be shut down while they recast the role and waited for Brundle to finish shooting another project. They were able to pick up some second unit stuff, but a majority of the cast and crew were being paid to hang out and do nothing until their new star was ready.

I’m guessing that other filmmakers are going to be very interested in seeing how Bo’s lawsuit might play out.

Monroe Kubo: Oh for sure. I definitely think “pay or play” clauses are going to get very specific about regen going forward. But I also don’t think we’re going to get to see much of this lawsuit play out. My instinct is that this will be settled out of court, probably at a significant cost but at less than the full contract. If I was advising either side, that would be my goal.

Why’s that? Side note, we should def bring you back for a courtroom fashion episode. Labels for Lawyers? Fashion Judge? There’s definitely an idea here. Anyway, back to Bo.

Monroe Kubo: From Bo’s side, I’d be worried about the production requesting access to his regen data. Not just for privacy issues, but the few details already leaked paint a picture of him taking his prep to an extreme. If they can’t prove that the production directed him to do that, there’s a chance a jury would see his actions as unreasonable and even detrimental to the production. Giving him nothing at best and at worst a bill for their legal fees or even the cost of production delays caused by his actions.

And from the producer’s side?

Monroe Kubo: This is a real spider’s web of issues. Mainly because if their argument wins and a court decides that their contract was with a very specific iteration of Bo, then they save that money but also open a floodgate of wider issues related to contracts. Imagine the far-reaching implications if the UEE legal system begins to consider contracts, or even certain clauses, only valid for someone until they regen.

No, thank you. I’m barely a celebrity and renegotiating contracts is already a big enough pain.

Monroe Kubo: Now imagine if every time you regen an employer gets to claim you’re a “worse” version of yourself. How do you think that’ll go for employees?

It would get me to give up on fashion and wear heavy armor everywhere I go.

Monroe Kubo: That breaks my heart. What a terrible universe it would be denied your dazzling eye for style.

Thank you for saying that, Monroe, and sticking around to get into the nitty gritty of this truly wild legal scandal. You’ll have to come back to discuss the outcome once everything’s settled. We need to take a quick break, but when StarWatch returns we’ll be playing everyone’s favorite outfit assessment game, “Wear It or Tear It!” Trust me, you won’t want to miss it.

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