Mel Gibson could be quizzed in court over his legal battle with the co-screenwriter of The Passion Of The Christ, after a Los Angeles judge tentatively ordered the star to stand for a disposition.
Benedict Fitzgerald is suing Gibson, who directed the controversial religious epic, over accusations he cheated the screenwriter out of millions of dollars in potential earnings.
He claims Gibson engaged in a "chronic and conspiratorial pattern of deceit" by telling him he was working on a project with a budget of between $4 million and $7 million (GBP2 million and GBP3.5 million).
Fitzgerald alleges he was only paid $75,000 (GBP37,500) and that he had to borrow $200,000 (GBP100,000) from Gibson to cover expenses. The Passion Of The Christ went on to gross an estimated $600 million (GBP300 million) worldwide.
In April (08) Gibson was granted a privacy motion in the suit to allow only his and Fitzgerald's legal teams access to the movie's financial information.
However, L.A. Superior Court Judge Gregory W. Alarcon may order the actor to sit for a pre-court testimony to get to the bottom of the money spat with Fitzgerald.
But according to E! Online, Gibson is not happy about possibly being forced to take the stand, because he was unaware of the matter - insisting the movie's accountant took care of financial matters.
And the website reports Gibson is too busy shooting his movie, Edge of Darkness - his first in eight years - to attend a disposition.
In the documents, Gibson says, "Production would be severely disrupted if I had to miss a day or more of shooting to attend (a) deposition in Los Angeles."
The judge will reportedly make his decision on Wednesday (26Nov08).