Guy Ritchie, the British film director, has been sued for breach of contract over his film “The Gentlemen,” starring Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, and Michelle Dockery. The actor and writer Mickey De Hara filed the lawsuit in the London High Court in August, claiming that Ritchie commissioned De Hara to write a sequel to the 2008 gangster movie “RockNRolla” based on De Hara’s “personal life experiences.” De Hara alleges that his screenplay featured a protagonist who runs a marijuana empire- just like in “The Gentlemen.” According to him, Ritchie told him that “the time of the gangster movie was over” and the project wasn’t in development. However, two years later, Ritchie released “The Gentlemen,” which De Hara claims is a “substantial” reproduction of his screenplay.
During the film’s creative process, De Hara alleges that he pointed out the similarities between the two projects to Ritchie, who informed him of unsuccessful attempts to contact him for some years. De Hara is seeking over $250,000, which includes a share of the film’s profits, and a writer’s credit on “The Gentlemen.” As per the lawsuit filed in August, De Hara claims he “has no intention of seeking credit for original work that was not created by him” and is instead pursuing “credit for his original work that has been used in’The Gentlemen’ without his consent and without payment of the agreed remuneration.”
The lawsuit alleges that the film copies De Hara’s cast of characters, their characterization, and parts of the plot, including a protagonist who runs a marijuana empire and an aristocrat with a drug-addicted son. De Hara alleges that one scene in “The Gentlemen” was directly reproduced from his screenplay. It features a character called Coach who leads a group of fighters called The Toddlers getting into a scuffle with some youths in a café and squirting vinegar into their eyes. De Hara’s version of the screenplay also featured a character called Coach who led a group of thugs nicknamed The Baby Squad.
This is not the first time Guy Ritchie has been accused of copying storylines. However, he hasn’t filed a defense to the lawsuit yet, and his spokesperson has not yet responded to the allegations. It will be interesting to see how the lawsuit unfolds in court.
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