Michael Keaton

Michael Keaton

A federal judge in Illinois has rejected Michael Keaton's efforts to have a lawsuit over his 2008 directorial debut The Merry Gentleman dismissed.

The Batman star was hit with a breach of contract suit by producers earlier this year (13) amid allegations the actor sabotaged the project by complaining that his first cut was of poor quality and then badmouthing the festive film on TV.

Executives at Merry Gentleman, LLC also claimed they built an editing facility for Keaton in California, only for the star to inform them that he wanted to work on the project in Montana during a fly-fishing trip.

They obliged to his demands in an effort to get the project completed in time to screen at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, but the movie bombed at the box office, making less than $350,000 (?233,330), and producers want Keaton to be held responsible for unspecified damages.

The actor hit back at the allegations, insisting the producers had never previously accused him of violating the terms of the contract until after the film flopped commercially, while he also insisted that they had broken the agreement themselves by failing to alert him to problems in production.

However, a judge refused to accept Keaton's arguments for dismissal and has dismissed his request to shut down the lawsuit, according to The Hollywood Reporter.