Actor Marcus Chong has sued the makers of The Matrix for allegedly reneging on a promise to recast him as a freedom fighter in the 1999 sci-fi thriller's two sequels.

The lawsuit, filed on Friday (16MAY03) in LOS ANGELES SUPERIOR COURT, accuses Warner BROS, parent company AOL TIME WARNER and the film's producers of breaching their 1998 oral agreement and a 2000 contract to revive his character Tank in the two sequels, and of slandering him.

Chong, 35, also accused the filmmakers of "intentionally publishing numerous false statements that he was a terrorist", and of conspiring to blackball him in Hollywood.

Film industry sources say the actor made repeated phone calls of a harassing nature to the filmmakers after his salary demands were not met. Tank was subsequently written out of the sequels and replaced with a character named LINK.

A Warner Bros spokesman and a spokeswoman for writer-directors ANDY and Larry Wachowski declined to comment on the pending litigation.

20/05/2003 21:19