The author of a novel published in 2006 has filed a lawsuit against Avengers: Age of Ultron director Joss Whedon and writer/director Drew Goddard. The two are accused of stealing the idea for the 2012 meta-horror film The Cabin in the Woods. Whedon produced and co-wrote the screenplay with Goddard who also directed.
Whedon, Goddard and Lionsgate along with Whedon’s Mutant Enemy production company are named as defendants. The lawsuit was filed in California federal court on Monday by writer Peter Gallagher.
Gallagher claims that Whedon and Goddard stole the idea from his novel The Little White Trip: A Night In the Pines. The lawsuit also claims copyright infringement and $10 million in damages.
Similarities are evident between the two projects. Both feature a group of young people terrorized by monsters, while staying in a cabin. (Pretty standard really!) It is revealed later on that the scenarios the young people endure are controlled by outside operators.
Gallagher has stated there are even similarities between the names and personalities in his book and the film. In the book, there is a blond named Julie and a shy young woman named Dura. In the film, Jules (Anna Hutchison) and Dana (Kristen Connolly) along with a couple of half-witted young men are caught up in finding peculiar items and hidden cameras.
Gallagher self-published his novel and “began grassroots efforts” to sell it on the boardwalk at Venice Beach and on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. “[The defendants] currently reside and operate out of Santa Monica, California, a short distance from where the Book was sold,” the lawsuit claims.
The plaintiff alleges he “was contacted by multiple credited entertainment industry producers who expressed interest in the Book,” but he doesn’t specify Lionsgate or Mutant Enemy.
Lionsgate would not comment on the lawsuit.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter