×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Tomorrow’ focus of suit

Scribes sue, allege elements of 1994 spec script used in Bond pic

United Artists’ newest James Bond pic, “Tomorrow Never Dies,” has drawn a $5 million plagiarism lawsuit from two Baltimore-based writers who claim that the 007 film’s writer lifted ideas from an unproduced action spec screenplay they wrote in 1994.

The writing team Jeffrey Howard and Chris Beutler, along with collaborator Jay Schlossberg-Cohen, charged in the lawsuit that ideas from their script “Currency of Fear” found their way into the new Bond pic’s screenplay. The suit, filed Friday in federal district court by Los Angeles attorney Susan Clary, alleges numerous similarities of character, setting and other elements — such as the nature of the villain, who in both scripts is a British media mogul.

Howard and Beutler, however, filed the suit before they had actually seen the movie, said Clary, and based their charges of copyright infringement on the novelization of the film, which they had read.

“Tomorrow Never Dies” screenwriter Bruce Fierstein, who also co-wrote “Goldeneye,” told Daily Variety, “The lawsuit is absurd. I was already working in London on the script after the story had been approved when they submitted their script to New Regency.”

The suit also names as a defendant Fierstein’s wife, Madeline Warren, who was a production executive at New Regency Prods., where the script had been submitted and covered in early 1996.

A New Regency reader’s coverage of the two writers’ script obtained by Daily Variety described the Baltimore duos’ script — which is not a James Bond story — as being about “a dedicated TV journalist who foils a high-level conspiracy by a powerful billionaire who wants to destabilize the transfer of power in order to force Western governments to increase defense spending.”

“Tomorrow Never Dies” pits Bond vs. a megalomaniacal media mogul sparking world conflicts in order to spur ratings for his TV stations and boost readership of his publications.

More Film

  • RUDOLF NUREYEV 1961

    Film Review: 'Nureyev'

    It would be absurd to say that Rudolf Nureyev lived, or danced, in anyone’s shadow. He was a man who leapt and twirled and flew onstage, all muscle but light as a feather, with a freedom and force that reconfigured the human spirit. There’s no denying, though, that over the last few decades, and especially [...]

  • Die Kinder Der Toten review

    Film Review: 'Die Kinder Der Toten'

    The hills are alive (or rather, undead), with the sound of music (also mastication and the moaning of zombies) in Kelly Copper and Pavol Liska’s experimental, dialogue-free, home-movie-style riff on Elfriede Jelinek’s “Die Kinder Der Toten” (The Children of the Dead). A seminal text in Jelinek’s native Austria, the 1995 book has never been translated [...]

  • Idol review

    Film Review: 'Idol'

    How many twists can a plot undergo before it snaps? This, more than any of the many political, moral and personal conundrums that snake through “Idol,” seems to be the question writer-director Lee Su-jin is most interested in posing with his extravagantly incomprehensible sophomore feature. A seedy political thriller by way of grisly revenge movie [...]

  • The Last to See Them review

    Film Review: 'The Last to See Them'

    Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood” stretches long as a late-evening shadow over Italian director Sara Summa’s feature debut “The Last to See Them.” The Italian title, “Gli Ultimi Viderli Vivere” which translates literally to “The Last to See Them Alive,” is also the heading of the opening chapter of Capote’s book. The setting is, similarly, [...]

  • Kalank

    Film Review: ‘Kalank’

    Events leading to the 1947 Partition of India serve as the forebodingly serious backdrop for the exhaustingly overextended razzmatazz of “Kalank,” writer-director Abhishek Varman’s lavish but ponderous Bollywood extravaganza, which opened in the U.S. on more than 300 screens the same day as its Indian release. Despite the preponderance of sets and costumes spectacular enough [...]

  • WGA Agency Packaging Fight Placeholder Writer

    WGA: 92 Percent of Writers Who Signed Statement of Support Have Fired Agents

    The Writers Guild of America estimated that over 92 percent of their members who support a new code of conduct for talent agencies have fired those representatives. Letters announcing formal termination will be delivered on Monday, the guild said in a late-hitting memo on Thursday, as most agencies will be closed tomorrow in observance of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content