Piven to appear at union grievance hearing

Actor Jeremy Piven will face a union grievance committee today to defend himself against theatre bosses' complaints over his sudden departure from the David Mamet play 'Speed-The-Plow'.

Actor Jeremy Piven will face a union grievance committee today to defend himself against theatre bosses' complaints over his sudden departure from the David Mamet play 'Speed-The-Plow'.

Piven's Broadway debut was cut short after the actor fell ill late last year, forcing him to bow out of the play.

He claimed high levels of mercury in his bloodstream, brought on by eating copious amounts of sushi, was the cause of his departure.

The producers of the show - who replaced Piven with William H. Macy in January - filed a complaint with Actors' Equity, the union which represents theatre actors, sparking an investigation over his withdrawal.

Producers argue his abrupt departure in December from the $3.5m (€2.7m) production jeopardised show earnings.

Piven is scheduled to go before the union's grievance committee, composed of five actors and five producers, on Thursday.

The actor agreed to take a blood test administered by a doctor hired by 'Speed-the-Plow' producers in January to check his claims, which have been mocked by Mamet. The results of the test have not yet been revealed.

An insider involved in the proceedings tells the New York Post: "It's my understanding that he'll be there - unless he has too much sushi on the plane from L.A."

Piven faces a financial settlement with producers if the grievance committee rules against him.

If he refuses to abide by the committee's decision, he can be expelled from the union. Producers will then be allowed to pursue the case in civil court.

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