Dan Auerbach Being Sued by the Producers of a Howlin’ Wolf Documentary for Failing to Fulfill Contractual Demands

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Photo: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for iHeart Radio

Dan Auerbach is being taken to court. According to The Hollywood Reporter, a lawsuit was filed last week against the Black Keys front man by Smokestack Lightning Inc. alleging that Auerbach failed to fulfill his contractual obligations to their documentary, Smokestack Lightning: The Legendary Howlin' Wolf. As the title suggests, the film focuses on blues legend Chester Arthur Burnett, better known as Howlin’ Wolf, and after Auerbach contributed an interview to the film, Smokestack asked him to come onboard as a fellow producer and also as director. THR says that according to the suit, “Auerbach verbally agreed that he would take control of the project in exchange for 9 percent of the profits and one major caveat: he would have complete creative control of the film, which was in post-production when the deal was made.” Smokestack claims that after the verbal agreement, Auerbach demanded “material alterations and vast expansions to the then existing picture” that included reshooting completed interviews, as well as filming new ones, purchasing the rights to additional copyrighted images, taking on a new writer, and “use of an entirely new camera and filming format.” The production company says it complied with Auerbach’s requests, because he allegedly threatened to walk if they expressed “even a modicum of discomfort.” But then, Auerbach quit anyway and left Smokehouse holding the bill for everything he changed — allegedly. As a result, Smokestack is seeking payment for damages and at least $100,000 in restitution. Auerbach has yet to comment on the lawsuit.