Crew members of a mob movie filmed in Philadelphia this summer have filed a lawsuit against the film's production company and executive producer, alleging that they have not yet been paid for two weeks of work, including overtime.
Made in Chinatown's 53-person crew, lead by primary plaintiff Derrick Berry, filed the lawsuit against Lansdale's Mark V. Wiley and Suza-Mark Productions last week. As part of the suit, Berry, who was hired as a director of photography and cameraman for the film at a base rate of $34 per hour, claims that he and the rest of the crew were not paid for 120 hours of work performed during the final two weeks of Made in Chinatown's filming.
Filmed primarily in Philadelphia's Chinatown, Made in Chinatown is listed as an action-comedy on its IMDB page, and deals with a Chinese man who attempts to join the Italian Mafia after falling in love with an Italian woman. Set in New York, the movie stars several Sopranos alumni, including Vincent Pastore (Big Pussy), Tony Sirico (Paulie Walnuts), Tony Barese Darrow (Larry Boy), and Tony Ray Rossi (informant Fabian "Febby" Petrulio). The film is scheduled for release on Nov. 10.
According to the suit, Berry and other crew members put in 20 hours of overtime per week in addition to their regular 40-hour work weeks between July 21 and Aug. 3, when production on the film wrapped, but were not paid for any of their time during that period. Crew members are allegedly owed wages totaling about $200,000, which the suit claims Wiley has admitted to in emails to Berry and other crew members.
Berry claims Wiley told crew members that they would be paid once he sold Made in Chinatown to a distributor. Wiley told the Inquirer in an email that "Made in Chinatown has zero outstanding debt for crew and cast" as of Wednesday, when he said final payments went through.
"[The] crew had been notified in dozens of emails that their final two weeks were in process," Wiley wrote.
Wiley added that investors had pulled out of the film after the last day of filming, which prompted the payroll issue. He says more than 100 emails were exchanged between himself, the crew, and the film's payroll service as the issue was being resolved.
"In no way, ever, were we 'not paying them' or 'refusing to pay them,'" Wiley wrote. "As of this morning, all of their outstanding pay has been direct deposited or checks mailed to them…There is no outstanding payroll due."
Crew members are seeking all unpaid wages, plus damages totaling 25 percent of the unpaid wages, as well as attorney's fees and other court costs, according to the suit.