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A Lannister always pays his debts, but actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau doesn’t plan on it.
Coster-Waldau fired his manager Jill Littman of ten years through an email in September of 2015. "I am nothing but grateful for our many years working together and the success we shared," he wrote Littman. "And the reason I have decided to leave Impression is not to go somewhere else but to basically take control myself. Game of Thrones is coming to an end now."
Following her termination, the question of Littman's cut of the Danish actor’s future GOT checks arose. During her time working for Nikolaj, she received 10 percent of his massive HBO salary. As THR points out, by the seventh season of the cult show, he made nearly a million dollars per episode, and even more for the eighth season, in addition to a dozen other bonus payments and sponsorships that equal millions in additional revenue.
After firing her, Coster-Waldau claimed Littman was entitled to no post-termination, but she responded with a contractual agreement stating she was. The agreement had been used years ago, at a time when her agency sponsored the actor’s temporary work visa. Then things got messy, because to counter her document, Nikolaj claimed the agreement was a sham in order to get a visa, calling on his WME agent Brandon Liebman to prove it.
This brought the whole case to the American Arbitration Association, because lying to get a visa is obviously a bad idea, and admitting to it is an even worse one. "You are testifying that William Morris Endeavor would have participated in submitting a sham agreement to the United States Government to support Mr. Coster-Waldau's 0-1 visa application?" Littman’s attorney Howard King asked Liebman during a several day hearing.
"What I was testifying to was, that we would never enforce the provisions of that agreement; they would really be... solely used in conjunction with getting the visa," Liebman responded. "Not in terms of trying to, you know, collect commissions for the term of the contract."
"So, basically, the way that we practice is, you know, when we have to use an agreement in order to get a client a visa, we would never, then, use that agreement to go after commissions that we weren't rightfully entitled to," he continued, avoiding claiming the agreement was fake or a sham.
The document was eventually determined to be a real agreement, meaning Coster-Waldau has to abide by it, but he still refuses to pay up.
"Although a Lannister always pays his debts," King told THR. “NCW has declined to honor the final ruling of the arbitrator and pay the compensation found to be due his former manager for all the successes she contributed to during her eight-year reign."
Stay tuned for where this messy legal battle goes next, while also anticipating the arrival of the final season of GOT, which airs in 2019.