While Twentieth Century Fox cites a 1999 graphic novel by Alan Moore as the source material for its big-screen EFX extravaganza The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, a lawsuit filed yesterday suggests otherwise. Veteran producer Martin Poll, president of Hollane Corp., and screenwriter Larry Cohen, head of Larco Prods., claim they pitched the idea to the studio in 1993 and are seeking in excess of $100 million in damages.
According to the plaintiffs, Fox “flagrantly and unlawfully stole" their idea for a film titled Cast of Characters, which recounts a fictional struggle pitting adventurer Alan Quatermain and super sleuth Sherlock Holmes against Invisible Man James Moriarty and Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray. Poll allegedly expended substantial sums of financial resources to develop and market the property, signing director John Landis (Animal House, American Werewolf in London).
The lawsuit filed by the firm of Storch, Amini & Munves, in conjunction with the law office of Ghoreichi & Associates, states that Fox topper Tom Rothman had multiple conversations with Poll about Cast of Characters even before Moores The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was published.
To date, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen has grossed $65 million domestically.
Polls producing credits include the Academy award-winning classic The Lion in Winter, starring Katharine Hepburn, Anthony Hopkins and Peter O’Toole, as well as the Sylvester Stallone vehicle Nighthawks and Woody Allen’s Love and Death.
Cohen has written and directed a number of cult classic horror films, including the Its Alive series, The Stuff and Q: The Winged Serpent, featuring stop-motion animation by David Allen. The hyphenate most recently penned Twentieth Century Foxs thriller Phone Booth.
In March 2001, Fox lost a multimillion-dollar suit filed by a Michigan high school teacher who claimed that the Arnold Schwarzenegger holiday film Jingle All the Way was stolen from a script submitted to the studio and credited to someone else.