Elizabeth Banks' "Walk of Shame" is getting her sued. An indie producer is fighting Banks in court, accusing her of stealing the recently released comedy from him.
"Walk of Shame" is hardly a smash hit, but did Banks steal the movie idea?
From Screenplay Pitch to Big Screen
Claiming someone stole your movie idea is hardly novel, but Dan Rosen seems to think Banks turned his 2007 screenplay pitch into her recent "Walk of Shame," reports The Hollywood Reporter.
According to the suit filed in federal court Wednesday, Rosen met with Banks and her husband in 2007 to discuss possibly casting Banks as the lead in "Darci's Walk of Shame." (Free tip: If you want to see big Hollywood-type deals go down, check out Mexicali in Studio City, California -- it's mentioned in the suit.)
Banks never called Rosen back about the "Darci" screenplay, but she allegedly retained a copy. Possibly insulted, Rosen is suing Banks and the "Walk of Shame" heads for copyright infringement and breach of implied contract.
Rosen says he copyrighted his screenplay and claims Banks and her "Walk of Shame" crew owe him for not properly licensing his work. Screenplays are certainly available to be copyrighted, as are movies, soundtracks, and even storyboards.
Copyrights can be infringed upon by derivative works, which are derived "substantially" from a copyrighted piece. Rosen claims that the following elements are shared between his and Banks' work:
- Theme. Both involve a 30-something woman's misadventures.
- Plot. Prudent good girl gone bad in a "walk of shame."
- Setting. A large city.
- Characters. Comic relief friend, helpful male lead/romantic interest, taxi driver, and "good girl" protagonist.
- Sequence of events. Life is good, break-up, drinking binge, "walk of shame," meets nice guy, catharsis, happy ending.
Rosen goes on to point out particular parts in the script that are similar, but this list could easily describe most of the romantic comedies made in the last two decades.
Breach of Implied Contract?
An implied-in-fact contract is one created by the conduct or words of the parties, but no written or formal agreement exists. Rosen alleges that his sit-down with Banks over his screenplay was in fact an implied contract to use it for compensation -- so Banks owes him.
As you might imagine most agreements like this must be in writing to be enforceable, so Rosen has a hard "walk" ahead of him.
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