March 20, 2012

Kevin Costner vs. a sculptor who devoted 9 years of her life to making 17 larger-than-life bronze bison/horses/Indians for him.

It's a contracts dispute:
Mr. Costner promised to either build the [$100 million luxury] resort by 2010, place the sculpture in a mutually agreeable location elsewhere, or sell the multimillion-dollar work and split the profit....

Mr. Costner's lawyers argued in court that he met the terms of the 2000 agreement by displaying the work at a $6 million visitor center on part of the land intended for the resort....

To meet Mr. Costner's tight budget, [Peggy Detmers] agreed to do the work for $250,000, one-fourth of what she calls her "wholesale" rate. Mr. Costner confirmed in his testimony that he promised to market copies of the works aggressively in a gallery at the resort....
She worked for $27,000 a year. Obviously, she expected a bigger boost from the project that fizzled. To be fair, Costner's career fizzled too. He was flying high after "Dances With Wolves" — which was what the luxury resort was supposed to be about.

22 comments:

bagoh20 said...

I would have taken that deal too, and then finished the sculptures in one year and got another job.

He promised to make her a stay at home sculptor and then things didn't pan out.

Robert said...

I'm sure it was not the only thing she did for nine years. One can only spend so much time sketching bison.

It's bullshit to claim otherwise.


What? If I didn't use it, garage or Trooper would have.

Ann Althouse said...

Yeah, I don't think her fee included manufacturing the huge things. She just needed to make the models, not cast them and supply the metal and so forth.

edutcher said...

No cowboys.

Of course it failed.

David said...

Johnny Depp would have just paid the lady.

Chip Ahoy said...

Kevin Costner said the bonze Dancing With Wolves statues made it look like he was yiffing and that wasn't the idea. <-- contains lies.

Quaestor said...

Costner made a gazillion from Dances with Wolves and squandered much of it on a string of stinkers.

I'd be hard pressed to name the worst Kevin Costner movie since since most of them are so stridently visionary yet so lacking in imagination, but on a bet I'd go with Water World. If you've haven't seen that gobbler please spare yourself the effort. It's nothing but a re-make of The Road Warrior. Replace the post-apocalyptic wasteland with a post-apocalyptic world-girding ocean and you've already seen Water World. It ought to ought to have been called "The Wet Warrior."

edutcher said...

Have you ever seen "The Postman"?

Rob said...

Bison, huh? Looks like a lot of bull to me.

Patrick said...

Interesting legal dispute. From my reading, the first issue is whether the sculptures are "agreeably placed elsewhere." It appears the lower court found that they were, basing its decision on the fact that she helped install them where they are, at a visitor's center.

There is also something of a remedies problem. It's a huge, difficult to move sculpture. Ordering a sale, which would require moving the whole thing would make it difficult to obtain its full value to divide between the parties.

Patrick said...

The casting/materials were over a million bucks, which Costner agreed to pay. The only question remaining is her fee.

Quaestor said...

The Postman? Jeez, what an ordeal! We actually got refund in the form of two free passes. My girlfriend I were the only two people in the whole theater. We stayed for 20 minutes and decided to walk out. I made a comment to the cinema manager as we headed for the door, something like that was the worst POS ever, and to my amazement the guy offered the passes as compensation. As I recall we redeemed the passes to see Dark City, a sci-fi film noir which did very poorly though I remember it as inventive and well-acted.

Irv Fishkin said...

It sure is a contracts dispute. Right from the pages of a bar exam - a la "As per your order we have shipped today, FOB Buffalo, 900 red and 400 white select grade widgets... please accept an additional 300 yellow, steerage-class widgets in place of the green ones with the fuzzy handles, which we are out of stock on right now. (signed) Lou Bartofsky, General Manager, ACME Widgets."

It all comes back in a nightmare, every few years.

Palladian said...

Maybe with a few modifications, they can turn 17 larger-than-life bronze bison/horse/indians into one larger-than-life bronze radio personality and sell it to the Missouri statehouse.

William said...

There's not much of a market for bronze, larger than life bison statues. Aren't life size bison big enough? Talk about gilding the lily. They should have gone with plastic. Plastic is light weight, easy to ship, and you can paint it in bright, child friendly colors. I think marketed properly mauve bison could be for the lawns of the midwest what pink flamingos are for Florida.

EDH said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

That is a perfect example of why all people NEED lawyers: it's the other people.

As soon as commerce starts back taking risks to invest and build new things, then all of the out of work lawyers will begin making a good living again.

EDH said...

What the hell does this sculpter think she's owed?

Sounds like she's arguing well outside "the four corners" of the contract.

Costner paid her $60k extra. There is no unjust enrichment. Any claim of reliance or assumpsit would seem to be offset by her own failure to mitigate.

Unless those bison start shitting bronze or other valuable metal, on a regular basis, I doubt they'll be able to sell the sculptures at anywhere near a profit.

Carnifex said...

When my future wife and I went to Mount Rushmore for our first vacation together we stopped at a place called "1880's town" A tourist trap just off the highway where they filmed Dances With Wolves. They even had Costners buckskin horse stabled there.(purportedly). You can have a good time, if you just suspend your anti-cheesy senses.

Rushmore was spectacular. Bear Country USA was fun. We went to Deadwood. Visited Wild Bill Hickcock, and Calamity Janes graves. Wall Drug, if you haven't been, you'll never know.

To cement our bonding even more, she got sick on the way out, and I had to hold her hair out of the way while she vomited. I got sick on the way back from food poisoning. I was so sick I gave her my parents, and my personal physicians phone number. We knew it was love then.(I also stopped her from stepping on a rattlesnake, bonus pts.)

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

Rushmore - Kind of the first American theme park?

Bob_R said...

Sad. A business deal that turned out bad for both sides. In the end there is one side that always wins. Althouse trains them.

I don't think that bagoh20 or Robert have the fainest idea of what is involved with making a huge cast-bronze sculpture. Of course, it's possible to make small models and then hire people to enlarge and cast them, but that process is very labor intensive and could easily have involved 9 years of steady work. (She could have made a lot more money making what the sculpture community refers to as "Doctor's office bronzes.")

gerry said...

It can't top Water World, but Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves was marvelously miserable. Horrible.