‘Stranger Things’ Creators Sued for Plagiarism
Stranger Things wears many influences on its sleeve, but one in particular may land it in hot water. Creators Ross and Matt Duffer now face a lawsuit claiming Stranger Things is derived from short film Montauk, whose creator claims to have pitched them the project in 2014.
Filmmaker Charlie Kessler has filed suit against the Duffer brothers, claiming that his award-winning 2012 short Montauk provide the inspiration for Stranger Things, and that he’d even pitched the brothers at a 2014 Tribeca Film Festival party. Kessler’s Montauk features such Stranger concepts as a young boy who disappears, a cop with a haunted past on his trail, child experimentation, a military conspiracy from a nearby base and a monster borne of another dimension (via Entertainment Weekly).
It’s less coincidental than it sounds, as the Duffers originally sold Stranger Things to Netflix under a Montauk title and setting, though the premise was subsequently changed to the fictional Hawkins, Indiana. To the Duffers’ credit, however, Montauk is the real-life basis of conspiracies involving government experimentation, so there’s little reason to suspect that Matt and Ross Duffer borrowed the idea from any one source. Neither Netflix nor the Duffers have responded to the allegations, but Kessler is reportedly seeking monetary damages and a full trial.
This is now the second significant controversy to hit the Duffers before production of Season 3 even begins, as last month saw the pair accused of verbally abusing on-set talent and crew. It is unclear why Kessler has only now filed suit, given that Stranger Things has made headlines as a breakout hit since its debut in July 2016.
We’ll see if Kessler’s claim gains traction, but might Stranger Things’ future be in question?
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