Family of Slain Drug Informant Sues Universal to Halt New Tom Cruise Thriller

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The release of Tom Cruise’s upcoming drug thriller film Mena is now threatened by a lawsuit against Universal Studios.

Mena, which is being directed by Doug Liman and written by Gary Spinelli, is about the life of Adler “Barry” Seal, a drug runner and pilot for the Colombian Medellin cartel recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency in the 1980s to help capture Pablo Escobar.

Cruise is playing Seal in the the film, which is now the subject of a lawsuit, after family members of the late informant say the studio made a $350 thousand deal with the wrong people for the rights to make the film, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Seal was murdered in 1986, allegedly by Columbian assassins, but left behind a large family, including children from multiple marriages.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed in Louisiana this week, Universal made a $350,000 deal with Seal’s third wife and three children from the marriage for the informant’s life story,

Now, Seal’s estate executor Lisa Seal Frigon, a daughter from his first marriage, says her permission was required for the film to go forward.

Additionally, none of the proceeds from the rights agreement went to the estate.

“Although the Life Story Rights of Adler Berriman Seal are property of the Estate, Defendants Debbie, Aaron, Christina and Dean have failed to remit to the Estate any proceeds which they received from their Agreement with Defendant Universal, but instead converted the proceeds for their own personal use and benefit,” says the lawsuit.

The suit also claims the script for Mena contains “many factual inaccuracies and thus falsely portrays” Seal as a reckless pilot and an alcoholic who fathered three children, not five, per The Advocate.

Because of the inaccuracies, the commercial value of Seal’s persona has been damaged, which diminishes the value of his estate, according to the complaint.

In addition to an injunction halting the production, release and advertising of the film, Seal’s eldest daughter is seeking additional relief, including unspecified monetary damages, and “all further legal and equitable relief as the court deems necessary and proper,” according to The Times-Picayune newspaper in New Orleans.

Mena is scheduled for release in 2017


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