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Warner Bros.’ 2012 baseball movie Trouble with the Curve may have been a box office dud, but it is the centerpiece of a typical Hollywood ‘stolen idea’ lawsuit that has some interesting twists.
According to Deadline, Gold Glove Productions’ Ryan A. Brooks filed the suit today in District Court for the Central District of California, claiming that the story was put together based on three scripts and a concept reel taken from his production company. He names Warner Bros. and Eastwood’s Malpaso Productions as defendants, as well as other Warner Bros. executives and the talent agencies UTA and Gersh.
Brooks claims that Trouble was actually written by Don Handfield, not Randy Brown, whose name appears in the film. Brooks said that Handfield was contracted on work-for-hire basis to write Omaha. The plot was similar to Trouble, featuring a father-daughter relationship at its center.
“The copyrighted scripts and concept reel bear more than a striking resemblance to Trouble With The Curve,” Brooks’ lawyer, Gerard P. Fox, said in the 119-page lawsuit.
The Hollywood Reporter notes that what makes this lawsuit a little different from the usual ‘you stole my idea’ claims is that the plaintiffs go out of their way to discredit Brown and insult him.
“This man, at age fifty at the time in question, had but two small writing credits to his entire career and was playing in a band that performed at weddings and gigs at places such as Monty’s Steak House,” the suit states. It continues to call him an “imposter,” adding, “His few, controlled, public interviews seem rehearsed and are noticeably flabbergasting to interviewers and the reading or listening audience. He does not come close to providing a colorable story of independent creation.”
Another colorful insult uses a simile: “The story Randy Brown tells is like a lie told by a four year old who has eaten a box of Oreo cookies and stands before a parent denying he had eaten the cookies while having Oreo crumbs all over his face.”
Warner Bros. and UTA told THR that they haven’t seen the lawsuit yet.
For the record, Trouble made just $50 million worldwide and co-starred Justin Timberlake and Amy Adams.