In 1782, Choderlos de Laclos published a lovely, salacious account of seduction and deception among French nobles. It was marketed as fiction, but its depiction of real-life behavior was scandalously accurate. Today, we see the same sort of story, reincarnated not in the tabloids, but in a lawsuit brought on by Julie Taymor to her Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark collaborators, U2 bandmates Bono and The Edge.
The battle over the ill-fated Broadway incarnation of Spiderman is surely one of the most obnoxious in recent memory, and one which we tend to file in the vast folder of rich people suing rich people. But at the same time, it remains utterly fascinating with each new development. In the correspondance between Taymor and all the other creative influences involved, the very subheads read like a serialized novel:
In which…Bono and Edge Failed to Attend Preview Performances and Were Distracted By Other Commitments.
In which…A Series of Accidents Beset the Production.
In which…Defendants and Others Conspired to Make Changes to the Book of the Musical Without Taymor’s Knowledge or Approval.