It has been more than two and a half years since Gary Oldman took home an Oscar for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in the movie Darkest Hour. Joe Wright directed it, and Anthony McCarten wrote the screenplay.
A History Channel writer Ben Kaplan has filed a lawsuit against Oldman, NBCUniversal, and others in connection to the film for allegedly ripping off parts of his script. He is claiming that the film took particular historical inventions from his un-produced Winston Churchill script.
Kaplan is a teacher and writer who worked on the History Channel series for several years. The lawsuit has been filed with the Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday.
“[Ben Kaplan] spent years developing, writing and refining Churchill,” says the complaint, seeking a jury trial. “Several versions of the script for Churchill were distributed to members of the film industry in Los Angeles County, California,” the detailed breach of implied contract adds. “It was understood by members of the film industry that Mr.Kaplan had created a script for a film about Winston Churchill and was planning on turning that script into a feature film.”
“Defendants’ wrongful conduct includes using numerous specific elements and ideas ideas from Mr.Kaplan’s Churchill script for their own film, Darkest Hour,” the lawyers at Costa Mesa’s Foley Bezek Behle & Curtis, LLP claims.
Oldman, NBCUniversal Media, producer and Oldman manager Douglas Urbanski, Working Title Film Group, Focus Features, and Oldman’s APA agent Jim Osborne are all named defendants. Weirdly enough, multi-Oscar nominee McCarten, who wrote the screenplay, is not.
Read the lawsuit here.
NBCUniversal has declined to comment on the suit when contacted by Deadline.