A writer has filed suit against Codeblack Enterprises, alleging that the Will Ferrell-Kevin Hart comedy “Get Hard” was based on his idea.
Victor Dean says that in 2009, he wrote a treatment for “Prison 101,” which features a securities broker who has to learn how to survive prison from a “streetwise individual.” Dean says he pitched the idea to Codeblack, a division of Lionsgate that has worked closely with Hart. Dean alleges that he suggested that Hart and Ferrell could co-star. In 2012, Dean turned the idea into a four-episode web series.
Ferrell and Adam McKay subsequently developed “Get Hard” at Warner Bros., and Hart was brought in to co-star in the project.
The suit alleges that Codeblack “allowed McKay access to Prison 101 at the Codeblack offices by acts including… telling McKay about the ideas and storylines in ‘Prison 101’ and/or showing McKay Plaintiff’s YouTube videos.”
Jeff Clanagan, CEO of Codeblack, has been said the lawsuit is “ridiculous.”
“This was a Warner Bros. movie,” he said. “I have nothing to do with ‘Get Hard.’ I have no connection to it… This guy is really reaching.”
“He’d have to prove the writers of ‘Get Hard’ somehow got the treatment. I don’t even know who the writers from ‘Get Hard’ were.”
Clanagan is a business partner of Hart’s. Hart was not a producer on “Get Hard,” and Clanagan said he has personally received nothing from the film.
“Maybe he does have a similar idea, but a prison-themed comedy is not rocket science,” Clanagan added. “There’s a bunch of ideas like that.”
Dean is pursuing claims of breach of confidence, conversion and unfair business practices. He is seeking economic and punitive damages, as well an order that Codeblack destroy any copies of the “Prison 101” treatment still in its possession.