A producer seeks $38 million from the close friends, claiming they're blocking a 1995 film's release

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated December 20, 2004 04:10 PM

Close pals Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire are flying high from their airborne movie successes this year – The Aviator and Spider Man 2 – but the producer of an unreleased 1995 movie starring the two then-unknowns has now slapped them with a $38 million lawsuit.

John Schindler, who describes himself as a co-producer and director of Don’s Plum (about a group of friends hanging out at a diner), says the stars warned potential distributors that DiCaprio wouldn’t work with them on other projects if they released the low-budget, black-and-white film.

The Superior Court complaint, filed Friday, takes issue with DiCaprio and Maguire’s claim that the film was not meant for commercial release, the Associated Press reports.

Publicists for the stars have not commented on the lawsuit.

In 1999, DiCaprio (who gained international stardom in 1997’s Titanic) and Maguire (who made his big splash with 2002’s Spider Man) settled a $10 million lawsuit with another co-producer David Stutman, who also accused them of using DiCaprio’s superstar status to prevent the release of Don’s Plum.

Ultimately, the agreement with Stutman allowed the movie to be shown outside of North America. DiCaprio and Maguire have claimed that they made the film as a “favor to a friend,” under the proviso that it would never be promoted as a feature-length movie.