Live-Action Cowboy Bebop Producer Involved in Lawsuit (Updated)

posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
Investors claim US$250,000 loan in company was not paid back

The Aspen Daily News paper reported on Tuesday that two investors, Debra Goldstein and her husband Bob Ritchie, filed a lawsuit in Colorado's Pitkin County District Court on November 10 regarding an investment they made into Joshua Long's digitial distribution company Instavision. The lawsuit contains six claims, including fraud, breach of contract, and negligent misrepresentation. Long helped put the proposed live-action film adaptation of the Cowboy Bebop anime in development.

Goldstein and Ritchie said that they loaned US$250,000 to Instavision, and that loan has not yet been paid back. The lawsuit mentioned that Instavision was to pay Goldstein and Ritchie US$15,000 a month to pay back the loan plus dividends, and that the entire loan was to be paid back by May 2010. The plaintiffs also mentioned that Goldstein and Ritchie received one interest payment of US$20,000 from Instavision.

According to the lawsuit, Joseph Long (another member of Instavision), emailed Goldstein and Ritchie four days before they loaned their money to Instavision. The plaintiffs said that the e-mail suggested that Goldstein "might like to see an interview with Keanu [Reeves] regarding Cowboy Bebop, which we are producing at 20th [Century Fox]." The e-mail also reportedly mentioned that Instavision was producing "Fruit Baskets [sic], another anime franchise property. Ann Peacock is scripting — she did the Chronicles of Narnia."

Goldstein and Ritchie's lawsuit alleges that the e-mail, among other correspondence, is "full of misrepresentations and omissions, and was an attempt to induce the plaintiffs to make loans to Instavision. Instavision was not producing Cowboy Bebop with 20th [Century Fox]."

According to plaintiffs, Instavision asked Goldstein and Ritchie for another US$165,000. Goldstein and Ritchie then asked Instavision for accounting records, and said that they received "a couple of cursory spreadsheets without backup."

Aspen Daily News reported that it did not receive a response from Joshua Long regarding the lawsuit before press time. Goldstein and Ritchie are seeking a jury trial. A review is scheduled with Judge Daniel Brett Petre on January 6.

Joshua Long revealed a new company called 1212 Entertainment in 2009. At the time, Long said that the company would be focusing on live-action adaptations of manga, anime, and game titles from Japan, as well as some French comics. Other live-action film adaptations Long has said that his company is pursuing include the Kakurenbo supernatural horror anime and a Kazuo Koike work.

Thanks to Aaron H. Bynum for the news tip.

Update: Long told ANN that the legal entity Instavision was not involved in the Cowboy Bebop film project, although the plaintiffs assert that Reeves' involvement in the Cowboy Bebop project was raised "in an attempt to induce the plaintiffs to make loans to Instavision." Long also told ANN that Instavision is a digitial distribution company. This article has been updated to reflect this.

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