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South Pacific Pictures Pulls the Plug on Film Based on Defamatory Book

south pacific pictures
It’s more bad news for Margie Thomson and Potton & Burton after revelations South Pacific Pictures pulled out of a major deal to bring the Whaleoil story to the big screen.
SOUTH PACIFIC PICTURES (SPP) has embarrassingly pulled the plug on the screen adaptation of the book Whale Oil despite forking out big bucks for the movie rights to the Matthew Blomfield story.
 
The decision is another blow for the author and publisher of the 2019 book lauded by critics as ‘a remarkable piece of investigative journalism’, but now widely discredited following two successful lawsuits – and a third still pending.
 
It is understood that sometime last year author Margie Thomson along with Blomfield and publishers Potton & Burton entered into an agreement with SPP for a sizeable sum for the contents of the Whale Oil book to be made into a televised film or documentary.
 
When car wholesaler Marc Spring was made aware of the deal back in December he immediately took action, informing SPP he would be seeking ‘injunctive relief’ if the plans to bring the Whale Oil story to the big screen went ahead. Spring, of course, successfully won a defamation suit against Potton & Burton and Thomson after he was accused in the book of being involved in the failed hit on Blomfield by Ned Paraha. The NZ Police of course cleared Spring of any involvement, and during a casual conversation with Spring back in 2014, the investigating officer made it quite clear he was not a suspect, but as Blomfield had decided to name him as a suspect, they of course had to follow up all lines off enquiry. (More on this to come soon with the Police files Spring has secured) 
 
While the matter was settled for an undisclosed sum this year, the book remains in circulation, but the actual sales were pathetic, however it’s available still online and in public libraries.
 
Initially South Pacific Pictures ignored Spring’s emails demanding information so he doubled down with requests under the Privacy Act and further threats of legal action. Specifically Spring wanted to know what information SPP had in its possession about the now discredited claims made about him in the book.
 
SPP finally replied, claiming it had no ‘personal information’ about Spring on its files other than what was contained within the contents of the defamatory Whale Oil book.
 
But it appears, despite these claims, the threat of legal action was sufficient to give SPP cold feet on the project. 
 
In a subsequent email to Spring, SPP lawyer Tim Mahood confirmed that SPP ‘has no intention at present, or in the foreseeable future, to produce a televised production based on the Whaleoil book.’
Mahood also promised that if that was to change for whatever reason Spring would be informed of the decision.
 
Said Spring: “They clearly can see this work of fiction is a problem for them. Any move to turn this trash into a movie would have been met with the most vigorous legal action – and we know to date how that has panned out for the likes of Margie Thomson and Potton & Burton.
 
Spring says “There’s enough crap on television already without this story making it to the big screen.”
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