More than two and a half years after Gary Oldman took home the Oscar for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in the Joe Wright-directed and Anthony McCarten-penned Darkest Hour, a History Channel writer is suing the actor, NBCUniversal and others connect to the movie for allegedly ripping off parts of his script.
“[Ben Kaplan] spent years developing, writing and refining Churchill,” says the complaint, seeking a jury trial, filed last week in Los Angeles Superior Court. “Several versions of the script for Churchill were distributed to members of film industry in Los Angeles County, California,” the detailed breach of implied contract action adds.Â “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 suit (read it here) from lawyers at Costa Mesa’s Foley Bezek Behle & Curtis, LLP claims. The complaint seeks an injunction on the film, which grossed $150 million in global box office, and a range of damages including all the money the defendants made from the film, which was released by Focus Features in November 2017 and garnered six Oscar nominations including Best Picture.
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 as defendants. Oddly, multi-Oscar nominee McCarten, who is credited with writing the script, is not.
Read more: Deadline