Did Warner Bros. Lift the Idea for ‘Trouble With the Curve?’
Warner Bros., a division of Time Warner (NYSE:TWX), is the subject of a new lawsuit filed on Tuesday that claims the studio lifted large portions of its 2012 sports-drama Trouble With the Curve from the work of college baseball player-turned filmmaker Ryan A. Brooks. The Warner Bros. film stars Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, and Justin Timberlake in a story about an aging baseball scout with a daughter who joins him on a scouting trip.
Additionally, the Gersh Agency, United Talent Agency, Malpaso Prods., screenwriter Don Handheld, director Robert Lorenz, and several others key members of the film Trouble With the Curve were named in the lawsuit along with Warner Bros. The suit, filed in a federal court in Los Angeles, makes a wide range of claims alleging that Warner Bros. went through complicated means to lift Brooks’ story and hide the evidence.
According to the lawsuit, Trouble With the Curve was lifted from the scripts and concept reel for one of Brooks’ passion projects, Omaha. Brooks developed the original screenplay for the film in 2005 and 2006, which the suit claims is “strikingly similar” to the Eastwood sports-drama. In a series of events straight out of a Hollywood movie, the suit alleges that Brooks’ work was taken without his permission and developed through the studio via a series of smoke and mirrors.
The lawsuit explains that Brooks approached writer Brooks to pen and polish the Omaha script, but the writer was ultimately involved in “camouflaging” the script so that it become Trouble With the Curve.
The suit later alleges a “conspiracy” occurred to cover up the lineage of the script by hiring an “imposter” writer, Randy Brown, to take credit for the script that would become Trouble With the Curve despite the fact that Brown only had two small writing credits to his name and “was playing in a band that performed at weddings and gigs at places such as Monty’s Steak House.”
Brooks claims that the similarities between Omaha and Trouble With the Curve are numerous. Both projects revolve around an aging father experiencing serious health issues in the last year of his contract with a baseball organization. Omaha and Trouble With the Curve also both deal with his experiences following the death of his wife and the relationship with his estranged 30-something daughter.
Among the charges levied at Warner Bros. is the fact that Brown “admitted that he never traveled with any scouts, never worked as a scout or ever formally studied scouts” in a film that revolves around the world of baseball scouts.
Lawyers for Brooks said in a statement, “together with contracts signed by Handfield and testimony from top industry experts, writing analysis specialists and investigators, we have the evidence to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the perpetrators camouflaged [Brooks’] script, used Ryan’s personal experiences, found a stand-in to pose as the writer and concocted stories to tell the press about the authenticity and origins of the screenplay.” Spokesman for Warner Bros. and UTA have not commented on the suit. Variety was not able to immediately reach screenwriter Don Handheld.