Quentin Tarantino’s fighting back at the Internet trolls who helped “share” his unpublished script tentatively titled The Hateful Eight. And with this twist, a huge story somehow grows even bigger.
The powerful filmmaker has filed a copyright suit against Gawker Media, according to The Hollywood Reporter, for “disseminating copies of his script.” As we reported earlier, Tarantino shelved his developing screenplay after it leaked online. He claimed, at the time, that he only shared the script with a handful of trusted colleagues. And yet, it got out. Gawker’s Web site Defamer posted a story sharing the 146-page Hateful Eight script. (Find it yourself. I don’t want to give them the page view.) The file they posted has since been taken down, but Tarantino still wants to make them pay.
THR says that suit claims:
"Gawker Media has made a business of predatory journalism, violating people’s rights to make a buck. This time they went too far. Rather than merely publishing a news story reporting that Plaintiff’s screenplay may have been circulating in Hollywood without his permission, Gawker Media crossed the journalistic line by promoting itself to the public as the first source to read the entire Screenplay illegally."
It really is shameful, for so many reasons. Tarantino’s screenplay was a work in progress, though it now has become a work we never will see because the writer/director appears so wounded by the betrayal. Some additional sites, circling like vultures, published scathing “reviews” of the unpublished screenplay – even though Tarantino hadn’t finished working on it. Our own Mack asked pointed questions about whether Tarantino overreacted by completely canceling Hateful Eight in the wake of the script leak. I wonder how fans will feel about Tarantino taking Gawker to court over the breach?
It’s somewhat amazing how much analysis goes into a film that hasn’t happened and won’t happen. Just this morning, long before news of the lawsuit broke, the financial Web site The Motley Fool did a comprehensive breakdown of the predicted box-office success of The Hateful Eight based on Tarantino’s history and his connections to the Western genre. They cite the money earned by Django Unchained (it banked $425 million worldwide), but note that Westerns don’t traditionally earn that kind of money.
This is a developing story. It will be interesting to see how the courts establish a legal precedent for future examples of a screenwriter’s unpublished work surfacing on the “lawless” Internet. Stay tuned.