×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Original ‘Disaster Artist’ Screenwriter Claims James Franco Swindled Him

The original screenwriter on “The Disaster Artist” filed suit in L.A. Superior Court on Wednesday, claiming he was duped into selling his screenplay for just $5,000.

Ryan Moody says he was tapped by director James Franco in 2013 to adapt the book about the making of the cult film “The Room.” Moody had been a student in Franco’s film class at UCLA, and later served as his teaching assistant.

According to the suit, Moody worked full-time on the project between November 2013 and March 2014. He delivered five drafts to Franco’s company, Rabbit Bandini Productions, and Seth Rogen’s company, Point Grey Pictures, which produced the film.

In April 2014, Moody says he was told that Point Grey wanted to replace him with more established writers. Moody wanted to retain a writing credit, but Franco told him he would be credited as an associate producer. According to the suit, Franco encouraged him to work on Moody’s passion project, “On the Bus.”

“Hey,” Franco wrote in an email to Moody on April 2. “Seth and evan (Goldberg) and (James) weaver want you on as an assoc producer and to give notes on every draft. Cool? Get going on ‘on the bus,’ that’s yours.”

The suit alleges that Franco and his partners had no plan or intention of actually producing “On the Bus.” Moody alleges that he was told that the project would have a budget comparable to “The Disaster Artist,” in the range of $5-$10 million. He says he was also told that if he wanted to work with Rogen and Franco again, he would have to sign the agreement to sell the screenplay.

While he had reservations, he ultimately relented, turning over rights to the drafts for $5,000 and waiving all credit in the film, according to the suit. Only two years later was he told that “On the Bus” would have a budget of just $50,000.

“At that point, Moody realized that he had been played,” the suit alleges.

He found out that he did not receive any associate producer credit on the film only when it was released in December, according to the suit. The suit also notes there is at least one major similarity between Moody’s screenplay and the finished film. According to the suit, he wrote a climactic scene in which “Room” director Tommy Wiseau flees from the premiere, only to return in triumph once the audience’s initial derision gives way to laughter. The scene does not appear in the book, but does appear in the film.

Moody’s attorneys are seeking to rescind the purchase agreement, and to enforce an unsigned agreement by which he would have received the WGA minimum. He is also seeking damages and attorneys’ fees and costs.

Representatives for Rogen and Franco did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Ryan Moody Disaster Artist by gmaddaus on Scribd

More Biz

  • THE MASKED SINGER: L-R: Monster (T-Pain)

    New-Model Murdochs: Fox Corporation to Emerge Tuesday

    A new era for the Murdoch clan and the media business begins with the debut of Fox Corporation on Tuesday, a day before Disney completes its acquisition of 21st Century Fox. The new-model Fox will begin trading Tuesday on the NASDAQ under the FOXA symbol. On Tuesday, 21st Century Fox will initiate a complex transfer [...]

  • mark Beaven

    If Spotify Is Holding Town Halls for Songwriters, They Must Be Open (Guest Column)

    Earlier this month, Amazon, Google, SiriusXM and Spotify challenged the Copyright Royalty Board’s decision to increase the compulsory mechanical rates paid to songwriters by 44% over the next five years. The streamers have come under fierce criticism for the move, which they claim is over the complexities of the CRB’s rules but is widely assumed [...]

  • iHeartMedia Promotes Angel Aristone to Executive

    iHeartMedia Promotes Angel Aristone to Executive VP of Communications

    Angel Aristone has been promoted to executive vice president of communications for iHeartMedia, the company announced today. According to the announcement, Aristone will continue to position iHeart as a media and entertainment leader through proactive strategic communication efforts on both a local and national level. She will also continue to oversee media relations and external [...]

  • Kevin Tsujihara

    Kevin Tsujihara Out as Warner Bros. Chief Amid Sexual Impropriety Scandal

    Kevin Tsujihara has resigned his post as chairman-CEO of Warner Bros. following an investigation into his relationship with actress Charlotte Kirk and allegations he used his clout to help her find work at the studio. In a statement, Tsujihara said he realized “my continued leadership could be a distraction and an obstacle to the company’s [...]

  • TV Ad Sales Upfronts

    NBCUniversal, Sky Make Joint Ad Offering as TV Upfront Looms

    NBCUniversal and Sky PLC will offer joint packages of advertising services, a new effort to monetize the European satellite broadcaster, which was purchased by parent Comcast Corp. for $39 billion last year. Advertisers will be able to reach customers in sundry international markets as well as the United States, using inventory across NBCU and Sky [...]

  • Robert Iger and Rupert Murdochcredit: Disney

    Wall Street Applauds as Disney Nears Finish Line on Fox Acquisition

    Wall Street is rooting for Disney as the media giant reaches the finish line this week in its 15-month quest to acquire most of Rupert Murdoch’s film and TV empire. Fox shareholders, on the other hand, are being a little more cautious. Disney is poised to close the $71.3 billion deal that took many twists [...]

  • Sony Music Names Amanda Collins Head

    Sony Music Names Amanda Collins Global Head of Corporate Communications

    Amanda Collins has been named executive vice president and global head of corporate communications for Sony Music Entertainment, effective immediately, it was announced today by CEO Rob Stringer. According to the announcement, in this role she will be responsible for the company’s global internal and external communications strategy and its implementation around the world, working [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content