Is anyone following this?
These blog entries are written by Tess Gerritsen, the writer of the 1999 book Gravity
, which is about a female medical doctor/astronaut who is stranded aboard the International Space Station after the rest of her crew is killed in a series of accidents. A biological hazard aboard ISS traps her in quarantine, unable to return to earth.
Here are the blog entries:
TESS GERRITSEN’S STATEMENT REGARDING: GRAVITY
My GRAVITY lawsuit and how it affects every writer who sells to Hollywood
Here is her quick wrap-up of the facts:
In 1999, I sold the film rights to my book GRAVITY to New Line Productions. The contract stipulates that if a movie is made based on my book, I will receive “based upon” credit, a production bonus, and a percentage of net profits. The book is about a female medical doctor/astronaut who is stranded aboard the International Space Station after the rest of her crew is killed in a series of accidents. A biological hazard aboard ISS traps her in quarantine, unable to return to earth. While my film was in development, I re-wrote the third act of the film script with scenes of satellite debris destroying ISS and the lone surviving female astronaut adrift in her spacesuit.
Alfonso Cuaron was attached to direct my film — a fact I did not know at the time. My project never made it out of development.
In 2008, Warner Bros acquired New Line Productions. The takeover was rumored to be brutal, with numerous New Line employees losing their jobs overnight.
Sometime around 2008 – 2009, Alfonso Cuaron wrote his original screenplay “Gravity” about a female astronaut who is the sole survivor after her colleagues are killed by satellite debris destroying their spacecraft. She is left adrift in her space suit, and is later stranded aboard the International Space Station. I noted the similarities, but I had no evidence of any connection between Cuaron and my project. Without proof, I could not publicly accuse him of theft, so when asked about the similarities by fans and reporters, I told them it could be coincidental.
In February 2014, my literary agent was informed of Cuaron’s attachment to my project back in 2000. Now the similarities between my book and Cuaron’s movie could no longer be dismissed as coincidence. I sought legal help, and we filed a Breach of Contract complaint that April. Please note: this is not a case of copyright infringement. Warner Bros., through its ownership of New Line, also controls the film rights to my book. They had every right to make the movie — but they claim they have no obligation to honor my contract with New Line.
After reading the article it seems that she has a very reasonable case here, especially as explicit contracts are involved. It sucks how hard it is for the original author to preserve original author rights...