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Utah Crime & Courts
Tribune Justice Reporters
By Tribune Justice Reporters

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From left, cast members Jessica Alba, Danny Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez, and director Robert Rodriguez pose together at the premiere of "Machete" in Los Angeles, Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
Danny Trejo in middle of Utah federal court fight

As two independent filmmakers battle in Utah’s federal court over use of tough-guy actor Danny Trejo in their movies, one film — "Machete Kills" directed by Robert Rodriguez — is slated to arrive in theaters on Oct. 11.

The other film, "Danny Trejo’s Vengeance" directed by Gil Medina, was supposed to debut in November; that date was bumped up to August according to some entertainment media reports. But a promo trailer on the film company’s website still says "Coming Soon."

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In addition to Trejo, "Machete Kills" stars Carlos Estevez (the actor formerly known as Charlie Sheen), Lady Gaga, Mel Gibson and Sofia Vergara in a killer bra, literally.

Medina, owner of Utah-based ITN Flix, filed a lawsuit in January alleging Trejo agreed in 2006 to star in a series of his vigilante-style films and to forgo other competing productions. Medina hired a Utah game company to make an app — with backing from Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak — to accompany the film’s release.

Medina alleges Rodriguez, who cast Trejo in the 2010 "Machete" and various spin-offs including the new sequel, failed to get permission to use the action star and conspired to get Wozniak to pull out of the game deal.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby dismissed Medina’s initial complaint but allowed him to refile it. The defendants, who include Rodriguez, Trejo’s agent and various production studios, are seeking to have the amended complaint, which seeks at least $11 million in damages, dismissed as well. Stay tuned.

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