Oct 9, 2020

Writer casts some light on NBCUniversal’s Darkest Hour

Darkest Hour is a 2017 war drama starring Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill in his fight against Adolf Hitler in WWII.

On Friday 18 September, TV & film writer Ben Kaplan filed a complaint at the Los Angeles Superior Court alleging that content from his own personal scripts about a Winston Churchill movie had been used in the Darkest Hour without his consent.

Kaplan began writing the scripts for his planned feature film “Churchill” in 1999, which he registered with the Writers Guild of America in 2002. Kaplan alleges that he then provided these scripts to Oldman who had agreed with Kaplan to play the starring role of Churchill. It was allegedly agreed that Oldman would be paid $6million, however before any contract was signed, Oldman withdrew his interest in the movie and subsequently agreed to star as Churchill in Darkest Hour. Unfortunately for Kaplan, his movie was then cancelled.

Kaplan, along with claiming trade mark infringement and breach of implied contract, is claiming copyright infringement: he alleges that there are significant similarities between his work and the Darkest Hour. Kaplan argues that the dialogue from the Darkest Hour and certain scenes from the movie have been copied from his work, more specifically his ending scene which delivers Churchill’s famous “We shall fight on the beaches” speech.

NBCUniversal or Oldman are yet to respond to the allegations.

If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniels Law on 0191 281 4000 or legal@mcdanielslaw.com.

Posted by: Tom Staveley in: Copyright, EU/International

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