Producers of the revival of David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow have officially filed a grievance with Actors Equity Association against original star Jeremy Piven. A date for the proceedings is yet to be determined.
Piven, who appeared in the Hollywood satire with co-stars Raul Esparza and Elisabeth Moss, abruptly and unexpectedly withdrew from the production on December 15, citing personal illness due to a high mercury count attributed to too much sushi in his diet. “We have been advised by Jeremy Piven’s medical representatives that he is seriously ill and is unable to fulfill his contractual obligation to Speed-the-Plow. Consequently, he has left the production ten weeks early,” the play’s producers said in a statement at the time.
Since departing, Piven has given several interviews maintaining the severity of the mercury poisoning, though public appearances and the pending results of a second diagnostic opinion have raised questions about the legitimacy of the diagnosis.
Piven’s role, that of high-powered film executive Bobby Gould, was temporarily filled by Tony Award winner Norbert Leo Butz, who joined the show on December 23. Academy Award nominee William H. Macy assumed the role on January 13 and will play through the end of Plow’s limited engagement.
Speed-the-Plow is scheduled to run through February 22, 2009 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre.