Former Gogol Bordello songwriter and guitarist Oren Kaplan is suing frontman Eugene Hutz over allegations the singer ousted him from the group and cut him out of profits. Kaplan filed papers against his ex-bandmate at New York's Manhattan Supreme Court on Friday (26Jul13), accusing Hutz of tricking other members into signing "consent forms" to boot the musician from the line-up in 2012.
The dismissal caused Kaplan to stop receiving royalty payments from Gogol Bordello's songs and banned him from accessing the group's funds.
Kaplan also claims Hutz, who took over the group's finances in 2009, has funnelled $500,000 (£33,330) from the gypsy punk rockers' bank accounts into other businesses he owns without his fellow stars' permission, while one year he paid himself a six-figure salary - more than double the $57,000 (£38,000) the guitarist had received the year before.
Kaplan is demanding $950,000 (£633,330) in personal damages and is also fighting for the same amount of compensation for the other members of the band via its corporation Gypsy Punks LLC, reports the New York Daily News.
Hutz, who co-founded the eclectic group in 1999, maintains Kaplan is no longer an official member of the band and therefore has no right to demand a review of its finances.
The actor joined his girlfriend, Gogol Bodello drummer Pamela Racine, on tour and he quickly proved he can be useful to have around - especially when your band is stopped by the infamously thorough cops in Arizona.
Band frontman Eugene Hutz explains, "They were really determined to find some drugs, so they're searching for, like, an hour until they obviously don't find any.
"One cop comes back with this shiny face, like he's got something. He goes, 'How do you explain your possession of this?' And it was a bag with Elijah's name tag on it.
"Five minutes later they're all taking pictures with Elijah for their families."
Based on the critically acclaimed novel by Jonathan Safran Foer Everything Is Illuminated is the story of the author's journey to track down the woman who saved his grandfather during the Nazi invasion. Foer (Wood) winds up finding a lot more than he'd bargained for including his own quirky threshold being tested. Upon arriving in Ukraine he is met by his host family a grandson-grandfather duo comprised of American-culture junkie Alex (Eugene Hutz) and his self-proclaimed "blind" grandfather (Boris Leskin). Things immediately take a turn for the funny when Jonathan himself eccentric and phobic learns that Alex will be his translator and Alex's grandfather his driver. And he's less than thrilled to learn that the blind chauffeur's "seeing-eye bitch " Sammy Davis Jr. Jr. will be accompanying them; Foer has a crippling fear of dogs. But in one of the film's ongoing theme Jonathan learns to adapt. When the trio finally finds what they've been searching for it leads to closure for all but mostly for Alex's grandfather. For the first time in ages he is no longer blind which for him brings both rewards and consequences.
Everything Is Illuminated has a top-notch ensemble cast with Wood turning in the film's third-best performance. He doesn't exactly get to spread his post-Frodo wings but his minimalist performance is subtle and unobtrusive in a way that adds to Foer's mystique and ultimate growth. It also allows Hutz and Leskin to shine--and boy do they ever. In his acting debut Hutz absolutely steals the movie. He is at times hilarious providing the necessary comic relief as an appropriate symbol of what America represents to its faceless admirers abroad. Then at other times Hutz is devastating and pensive mostly when he removes his hat and exposes his face revealing a vulnerability that contrasts his flamboyant personality. Perhaps it's not such a departure for Hutz who in his own life is an American transplant and front man of underground punk band Gogol Bordello. Then there's Leskin who only has a few American films to his credit but a wide and varied career in European cinema. Although his appearances are brief he shines through as his character's arc involves the full emotional spectrum ending with illumination.
Long live Liev Schreiber! At least that's the praise each of these three fortunate actors should be singing in exchange for Schreiber giving them such rich and career-boosting parts. But Illuminated is really Schreiber's baby his own labor of love. Having adapting Foer's novel himself its themes truly hit home for the actor-turned-director whose own late grandfather survived the Holocaust. But the film's journey to the big screen hasn't been easy. It's taken about four years to get the film made and finally released but as Schreiber told Premiere magazine "I wanted to make a film like the films I love." Most first-time directors need some sort of mentor or babysitter on-set to guide them through but since Schreiber is such an esteemed veteran of countless films (The Manchurian Candidate and HBO's RKO 281 as some of his best) that it looks like it comes naturally to him. With a mixture of exotic music and offbeat humor he successfully brings a story that might have been better suited for television. If Schreiber can find the time between his many current acting gigs including his highly successful run of Glengarry Glen Rosson Broadway he may have a new chair to comfortably sit in--the director's chair.