Gary Oldman, his manager, and executives at NBCUniversal have been sued by a writer who claims they ripped off his script for 2017 film "Darkest Hour".
Oldman won a Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Britain's wartime leader Winston Churchill in the film, and now he has been named among the defendants in a suit filed by a History Channel writer, known as Mr. Kaplan, who claims parts of Anthony McCarten's script are very similar to his own.
In legal papers obtained by Deadline on Monday, September 21, the plaintiff's lawyers claim their client spent years "developing, writing and refining" his script for "Churchill".
"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 reads. "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 from Mr. Kaplan's Churchill script for their own film, 'Darkest Hour'."
The lawyers are chasing an injunction on the film and seeking a wide range of damages, including all the money the defendants made from the movie, insisting they had access to "three 'Churchill' scripts prepared by Mr. Kaplan," dating from May 2013 to December 2014.
The lawyers have also listed the alleged instances of similarity between the scripts for "Darkest Hour" and "Churchill".