Quentin Tarantino in $5m assault claim

Only in Hollywood could getting smacked in the mouth make you $5m. Quentin Tarantino (pictured above with wife, Gretchen), hotshot director of Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs is being sued for $5m (pounds 3m) by Don Murphy, the associate producer of the Tarantino-scripted violencefest that was Natural Born Killers.

In real life, Mr Murphy is obviously less enamoured of violence than his movies would make you think. According to documents lodged in the Superior Court in California, the delicate Mr Murphy needs the $5m because he has been unable to work since being slammed against a wall by Tarantino last month and then punched in the head and face. Mr Murphy claims it is the pain from the attack that has kept him from working.

While the characters in Mr Murphy and Tarantino's films usually perpetrate their violence in unpleasant cellars and run down warehouses, in this case Mr Murphy alleges the attack took place at the trendy West Hollywood restaurant, AGO.

The law suit is ironic in that during filming of Natural Born Killers, the female star, Juliette Lewis, broke the nose of actor Tom Sizemore when she slammed him too enthusiastically into a wall. It is not known if Sizemore was able to claim $5m for a month off work. Natural Born Killers recounted the story of Mickey and Mallory, serial killers and lovers who travelled along America's Route 666 conducting stylised mass-slaughter just for the hell of it.

It is yet to be revealed what the source of the enmity between Tarantino and Mr Murphy is, but Tarantino was so appalled by the changes made to his script for director Oliver Stone, that he has disowned the film. In contrast to Mr Murphy's squeamishness, Natural Born Killers needed 150 shots to be cut before it could get a R rating in the US.

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