Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Adam Sandler sued for stealing movie premise

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U.S.D.C. CD California CV-07-08013

Strange Bedfellows Pty Ltd. v. Universal City Studios LLLP; Universal City Studios Productions LLLP; Happy Madison Productions Inc.; Does

Australian filmmakers claim Universal City Studios and Happy Madison Productions based the movie “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” on a premise stolen from the film “Strange Bedfellows.”

Strange Bedfellows Pty Ltd. alleges that Universal borrowed the storyline from its film, in which two heterosexual firemen pretend to be gay in order to receive domestic-partner benefits.

“Strange Bedfellows,” released in 2004, stars “Crocodile Dundee” actor Paul Hogan and Michael Caton. The movie was that year’s highest-grossing Australian film.

“Chuck and Larry” premiered in 2007 and features Adam Sandler and Kevin James as straight firemen who pretend to be gay – a plot that bears a striking resemblance to the Australian film, the plaintiff says.

Caton allegedly gave a copy of “Strange Bedfellows” to actor Rob Schneider, who played the Asian minister in “Chuck and Larry.” Schneider passed it on to Sandler, who then gave a copy to writers at Universal, the suit claims. Schneider and Sandler are purportedly close friends who have collaborated on more than 70 films.

Schneider responded to the infringement claim by taking out an ad in the Sydney Morning Herald, stating that the film was based on a true story about two men from Virginia. “It is true (the plaintiff) gave me a DVD copy of ‘Strange Bedfellows,’ but I must confess I never watched it,” Schneider wrote.

Cause of action: Copyright infringement

Filing counsel:
Andrew White, Peter Travis and Hajir Ardebili of White O’Connor Curry (L.A.)