A movie producer has sued Warner Bros. and Clint Eastwood’s production company, claiming the movie studio and the Oscar-winning filmmaker stole the idea for their 2012 baseball movie “Trouble With the Curve.”
In his 120-page copyright infringement complaint, filed Tuesday in federal court, Ryan A. Brooks alleges there was a vast conspiracy to deny him and his company, Gold Glove Productions, proper credit for the screenplay for the movie, which was a critical and commercial washout, attracted poor to mixed reviews and grossed just $49 million worldwide.
FOR THE RECORD:
Eastwood movie lawsuit: In the Oct. 2 Business section, a headline on an article about a lawsuit alleging that Clint Eastwood's production company and Warner Bros. stole the idea for the movie "Trouble With the Curve" said that a producer sued Paramount Pictures. As the story stated, Warner Bros. was sued. Additionally, the article said that the lawsuit also named WME. The talent agency is not a defendant.
The film was directed by Robert Lorenz, Eastwood’s longtime producing partner, and starred Eastwood and Amy Adams.
In addition to Warner Bros., Eastwood’s Malpaso Productions and Lorenz, the lawsuit names the talent agencies United Talent Agency and the Gersh Agency and several people who worked on “Trouble With the Curve.”
“This case is about a conspiracy to steal the body, structure, theme and soul of a unique, original, copyrighted screenplay from a production company and its owner,” the lawsuit said.
Brooks said in his filing that he developed a screenplay -- first called “Run Down” and later “Omaha” -- that mirrored several elements of the finished film, a story about an aging baseball scout (Eastwood) and his daughter (Adams).
The lawsuit says that Gold Glove hired screenwriter Don Handfield to rewrite the “Omaha” screenplay in 2008, and argues that his script was passed off as the work of another writer, Randy Brown, for “Trouble With the Curve.”
The complaint alleges that Brown, whom the lawsuit dismissed as a singer in a wedding band, was “an impostor” and “is not steeped in baseball knowledge by any stretch.” The lawsuit maintains that Handfield, after a falling out with Gold Glove, essentially is partially the true author of the screenplay.
The complaint said that the produced screenplay includes specific language crafted by Handfield, who is also a defendant, “like fingerprints and DNA” and includes specific baseball experiences shared with Handfield by Brooks, who is a former baseball player and had an executive producer credit on the Oscar-winning documentary short "Inocente."
The lawsuit asks for relief in “tens of millions of dollars.”
Warner Bros. declined to comment on the legal action. United Talent Agency, which represents Brown and is itself a defendant, said it had not been served with the complaint and also had no comment. William Morris Endeavor, which represents Handfield, did not immediatey respond to a request for comment.
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