STrouble With The Curve, Warner Brother's box office smash that turned then-unknown Justin Timberlake a household name (just kidding, it sucked), has come into some legal hot water: namely, over who should actually get credit for the film.
Ryan Brooks, an LA-based screenwriter and producer, filed a complaint on October 1st against Warner Brothers, Clint Eastwood's Malpaso Productions, Curve director Robert Lorenz, Curve writer Randy Brown, United Talent Agency, and The Gersh Agency, alleging all six parties were implicit in the theft and repackaging of his unproduced script Omaha, being turned into what would later become Trouble With The Curve. Warner Brothers attorneys from powerhouse firm O'Melveny and Myers replied today, threatening Brooks' lawyer to drop the case within a week, or be countersued for malicious prosecution. (As boring as this all sounds, rest assured, it is significantly more engaging than Trouble With The Curve.)
While it's interesting enough that anyone would fight for credit over a movie that actually used lines like "That's 'fang schmay!' Don't you know anything?" and "A bunch of goddamn midgets designed this garage!" what's more interesting is Brooks' lawsuit itself. Brooks alleges that Curve, which was credited to Randy Brown—a writer with virtually no credits—was actually written by his Omaha writing partner, Don Handfield. In a twist of circumstantial evidence, Handfield's agent Charlie Ferraro at UTA also now reps Brown, which Brooks finds as proof of a coverup that Handfield actually tried to pass off Omaha as Curve.
The 120-page suit reads less like a legal document and more like a dime-store gumshoe novel. The opening allegations are cinematic, the story twists and turns as we learn about Brooks' foray into the world of baseball, his own mother's battle with cancer (one that was incomparable to the battle that raged within her heart about making peace with the memory of her estranged father), and that somehow, Brooks once directed a Coolio music video—but not the one with Alicia Silverstone and Brittany Murphy singing "Rollin' With the Homies" at a house party.
A few clips from the script-length lawsuit are below. Please imagine these as Justin Timberlake doing a voiceover, as Clint Eastwood gravely stares at high school students ripping open packs of Big League Chew.
There are often events within an industry in which massive amounts of money are earned that reveal a viral-like infection of greed, lack of ethics, and criminal behavior festering therein. We have seen these infections and their fallout within Wall Street, presently within professional sports, and sometimes, within Hollywood. This case is about a conspiracy to steal the body, structure, theme, and soul of a unique, original, copyrighted screenplay from a production company and its owner [...] This was a racket, in the sense of intentional, illegal activity.
Articles have been written suggesting that the courts of law have become bouncers at the door of justice; thereby preventing victims of such greed and avarice from securing a remedy, and thereby shining a light on the degenerating ethics of this darkening industry. This case will serve as a beacon of light for those who wish to follow in an effort to rid the industry of such corruption.
In the end, Plaintiff Brooks will take his bat and get up to the plate one more time and this time swing away for the enforcement of ethics and higher standards within his industry.
(A photo of a bat with Omaha screen printed on it was below the last quote on page 115.)
The complaint rambles on (though you can read it below, and I highly recommend you do as it is hilarious), including sections like "BROOKS EDUCATES CO-CONSPIRATOR HANDFIELD ABOUT THE WORLD OF BASEBALL AND SHARES HIS MOTHER'S STORY OF BEING ESTRANGED FROM HER FATHER," as well as an incredibly detailed log of every team Brooks ever played baseball for as a child, including Little League. Oh and he also quotes The Great Gatsby. A lot.
Brooks is seeking "tens of millions" of dollars in damages on his 12 complaints filed, as well as profits from the film. Or you could just turn his lawsuit into a movie—after all, you'd already have the 120 pages you need for the script.