Film director Quentin Tarantino, Columbia Pictures, and The Weinstein Company stand accused of copyright infringement relating to the 2012 film Django Unchained.
Quentin Tarantino is probably hoping to make millions from his latest Christmas release The Hateful Eight, and it looks like he’ll likely need to, as he is now faced with a copyright infringement suit seeking “hundreds of millions of dollars” in compensation.
Reportedly, on December 24 — the day before the public release of The Hateful Eight in theaters — Tarantino and the movie distributors were named as defendants in a lawsuit in the Washington, D.C. federal court by Oscar Colvin Jr. and his son Torrance J. Colvin.
— NME (@NME) December 31, 2015
As reported by the Verge, the plaintiffs in the copyright suit state that Tarantino infringed on the copyright of their screenplay Freedom, saying Tarantino’s Oscar-winning Django Unchained has extensive similarities to that screenplay.
The film Django Unchained was directed by Tarantino and starred Jamie Foxx in the lead role of Django Freeman. Other stars in the film included Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, and Kerry Washington.
Set in the late 1850s in the Old West, the film had spaghetti Western elements and was also said to be a tribute to Sergio Corbucci’s 1966 film Django. Foxx’s character, Django, is caught by Waltz’s character, a German bounty hunter named King Schultz, and eventually teams up with the latter when he promises to free him in exchange for help in collecting bounties on three outlaws.
Waltz won an Oscar for best support actor for his role in the film, which was a major hit, pulling in $425 million worldwide.
As reported by the Guardian, in the copyright infringement suit, the Colvins say they registered Freedom with the Writers Guild of America back in 2004 and reportedly took the script into CAA and the William Morris Agency. The plaintiffs also reportedly placed the script on Triggerstreet’s script web site.
The suit claims there are a “plethora of similarities between ‘Freedom’ and ‘Django Unchained'” and states that while the Quentin Tarantino and the other defendants would call them coincidences, the use of their work is “neither an accident nor coincidence.”
Comparing the two scripts, the plaintiff’s suit against Quentin Tarantino goes on to say, “Before Django Freeman, there was an escaped slave named Jackson Freeman who desired to purchase his family’s freedom from a malevolent plantation owner.”
It continues by saying that while Tarantino claims he based his Django Unchained screenplay on Sergio Corbucci’s Django, in reality there are far more similarities between Tarantino’s movie and Freedom than between the original Django and Django Unchained.
— watchLOUD (@watchLOUD) December 31, 2015
One key plot point in Django Unchained relates to Tarantino’s character returning to free his wife (with Washington in the role) from her plantation owner, played by DiCaprio. The Colvins say this was taken almost directly from Freedom.
“Returning to the hellish realm of the South to purchase the freedom of his loved one(s) with the assistance of a Caucasian in the South is the uniquely original beat that links ‘Django Unchained’ to ‘Freedom.'”
The suit also reportedly quotes Tarantino as saying, “I steal from every single movie ever made.”
While there was reportedly no response to media requests for comment from Tarantino’s representatives, Columbia’s parent company Sony Pictures or TWC, the suit is apparently looking for compensatory damages to the tune of “hundreds of millions of dollars.”
In other Quentin Tarantino news, the Inquisitr recently reported on the film director finally achieving his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
[Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images Entertainment]