While much of the surprising twists of this much-hyped “Game of Thrones” off-season have focused on where the characters’ storylines will go next season, the newest development involves one actor’s real-life drama. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who plays the moody Jaime Lannister on the show, is being sued by his former manager Jill Littman for $2 million in backpay plus interest. In addition, the actor is facing immigration fraud accusations, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The dispute revolves around a decade-long contract between Littman’s agency, Impression Entertainment, and Coster-Waldau. Coster-Waldau terminated their business relationship in 2015 for reasons he claimed were personal, not financial.
“I am nothing but grateful for our many years working together and the success we shared,” the actor’s e-mail to Littman read. “And the reason I have decided to leave Impression is not to go somewhere else but to basically take control myself. ‘Game of Thrones’ is coming to an end now.”
Throughout their agreement, Littman earned 10 percent of whatever income Coster-Waldau was paid. Coster-Waldau insisted that their partnership was strictly an oral agreement, which did not include compensation for his manager following the termination, However, according to Littman, the unusual arrangement of their deal included her receiving compensation post-termination.
How was their deal unusual? In April, Littman came forward with a written contract that refutes Coster-Waldau’s claims. “This agreement dated from the time that her agency sponsored Coster-Waldau for a 0-1 visa. As part of what needed to be given to U.S. immigration authorities, she delivered to the government a signed agreement between Impression and Coster-Waldau,” wrote THR.
Through his agent at William Morris Endeavor, Coster-Waldau insisted the agreement was a “sham.” The comment has cast the spotlight on possible immigration fraud operating in Hollywood. A Los Angeles Court determined this week the written agreement was real and ordered Coster-Waldau to pay up. But the actor refuses to comment on the trial and his lawyer appealed the verdict, requesting a retrial.
“Although a Lannister always pays his debts, NCW has declined to honor the final ruling of the arbitrator and pay the compensation found to be due his former manager for all the successes she contributed to during her eight-year reign,” said Howard King, an attorney representing Littman.
Through the trial, Coster-Waldau’s payments per episode on the HBO show were made public. He was reportedly paid $942,857 for each “Game of Thrones” episode, which was then raised to $1,066,667 for the upcoming season. He also received loads of assorted bonuses for his role, including a $50K bump for a SAG nomination and $10K for allowing his likeness to be used for “Game of Thrones” trading cards.