The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach is being sued for backing out of a documentary about Chicago blues legend Howlin’ Wolf, The Hollywood Reporter reports. The film, entitled Smokestack Lightning: The Legendary Howlin’ Wolf, features interviews with Auerbach and other big-name musicians like Jimmy Page and Buddy Guy.
According to the complaint filed on Wednesday by production company Smokestack Lightning Inc., they approached Auerbach following his interview to enlist the rocker as director and executive producer of the film, which was in post-production at the time. Smokestack claims that Auerbach verbally agreed to take control in exchange for nine percent of the profits and complete creative control over the project.
As the suit states, Auerbach “quickly demanded certain material alterations and vast expansions to the then existing Picture,” including reshooting interviews, adding new interviews, licensing specific copyrighted photos, retaining a new writer, and “the adoption and use of an entirely new camera and filming format.” Although these demands drove the cost of the production way up, Smokestack agreed because Auerbach made it clear he would back out if they expressed “even a modicum of discomfort” with the changes.
But Auerbach ended up backing out before the project was finished anyway, and he refused to reimburse Smokestack for the costs incurred by his demands, so Smokestack is suing him for breach of a verbal agreement and of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, unfair business practices, and negligent misrepresentation. Smokestack is seeking $100,000 in damages and restitution.