Lawsuit May Trip Up Jesse Eisenberg's Night Moves
Typically, the Toronto International Film Festival is a venue for a slate of new films to collect the kind of buzz that can give them a killer edge in award season. But at this year's festivities, while flashy new features like Anna Karenina, Cloud Atlas and The Master drew much of the focus, trouble was brewing for writer-director Kelly Reichardt's follow-up to Meek's Cutoff.
The drama called Night Moves stars Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard, and is gearing up to shoot next month. Producers were seeking foreign buyers for the property when a lawsuit was filed in a California federal court demanding all work on the film—including promotion and sales—stop immediately. THR reports the suit was filed by Edward R. Pressman Film, the production company developing a film adaptation of Edward Abbey's eco-terrorist novel The Monkey Wrench Gang, from which the company believes Reichardt ripped off the idea and much of the plot of Night Moves.
The lawsuit declares:
"By way of example only, both works feature the targeting of a dam for destruction by means of ammonium fertilizer-laden boats. In the Novel, the principal bomb-maker is a beer-guzzling veteran who served overseas as a Green Beret, where he acquired his knowledge of explosives. The bomb-maker in 'Night Moves' is a beer-guzzling veteran who served overseas as a U.S. Marine, where he acquired his knowledge of explosives. Both the Novel and 'Night Moves' also feature a 20-something woman who starts out as a companion of another member of the group but develops a sexual relationship with the bomb-making veteran, despite his initial objections to her participation in the group's illegal activities."
In an unexpected move, Edward R. Pressman Film is suing not only Reichardt and executive producers Todd Haynes, Alejandro De Leon and Larry Fessenden but also sales agents at UTA and The Match Factory GmbH. The inclusion of the sales team appears to be an effort to completely cripple the production, which Pressman Film is essentially accusing of theft. However, copyright cases like this are notoriously tricky, so this may not mean the end of Night Moves just yet.
There's no word yet from Reichardt or whether or not Night Moves will shoot as scheduled.
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