Terrence Howard is threatening to sue the producers of the new movie Triumph, the amateur wrestling drama that was released in theaters on April 30. Directed by Brett Leonard and written by Michael D. Coffey, the movie stars Breaking Bad alum RJ Mitte as a high school senior with cerebral palsy who strives to succeed in wrestling. Howard co-stars as the young man’s coach, and his name and likeness were featured prominently in the movie’s marketing.
Two weeks after the release of Triumph, Terrence Howard had his lawyers send a cease and desist letter to employees at Cinemark, Digital Ignition Entertainment, Argonaut Entertainment Pictures, and others. Per the complaint, Howard alleges that his name, image, and likeness have been used in connection with the movie without his consent. Attorney Michael Saltz notes in the letter that Howard’s involvement was “conditioned upon the satisfaction of material monetary and non-monetary promises made by the producers, which never happened.”
It’s alleged that as recently as April 15, Howard still had not officially signed off on its release. Triumph was still released anyway on April 30. Claiming that Howard’s publicity rights were violated, the legal letter is threatening further legal action if Argonaut continues to feature Howard with “distribution, advertising, promotion, and/or exhibition of Triumph in any manner.”
In response to the threat of legal action, Digital Ignition Entertainment told TMZ, “The producers made this film with a mission to help advance awareness of Cerebral Palsy and to do our part to promote inclusion in film. We couldn’t be more proud of the job our cast and crew did to highlight the remarkable accomplishments of the writer of the film, who has Cerebral Palsy, and the lead actor of the film, RJ Mitte, who is also diagnosed with cerebral palsy.”
This is not the only controversy related to one of Howard’s movie roles. Originally, Howard played the role of the MCU’s Colonel James Rhodes, aka War Machine, in the first Iron Man. He was the highest paid actor in the movie, taking in a bigger paycheck than lead star Robert Downey Jr. After he was reportedly offered a 50 to 80 percent pay cut for Iron Man 2, Howard didn’t return for the sequel, and Don Cheadle has been playing the role ever since.
“You know what’s so funny? Even though I love Don Cheadl so much and I love what he’s done, I still hear a lot of fans asking, ‘Am I going to come back and be War Machine? Am I going to come back and be War Machine?’ I think they could have a huge franchise off of it, but f**k em,” Howard said of the situation in 2018.
Cinemark and Argonaut haven’t yet provided an official response to the legal letter. The movie was released on April 30 and you can watch the trailer for Triumph below. In addition to Mitte and Howard, the inspirational movie also stars Colton Haynes, Jonathan Scaech, Grace Victoria Cox, Rob Gough, and Michael D. Coffey. This news comes to us from TMZ.