(Reuters) - Producer and writer Madison Jones sued Disney's 20th Century Studios Inc and talent agency Creative Artists Agency LLC in Los Angeles federal court on Wednesday, alleging the 2019 sci-fi film "Ad Astra" infringes his copyright in a screenplay he pitched to the companies.
Jones, who co-chairs de Passe Jones Entertainment with producer Suzanne de Passe, said in the complaint that "Ad Astra" was "extremely similar" to his screenplay and that the plot of the movie changed to mimic his script after he shared it with 20th Century and CAA representatives.
Jones' attorney Carl Brundidge of Brundidge & Stanger told Reuters that Jones was "very upset" when he saw how similar "Ad Astra" was to his script, and that experienced industry members echoed the sentiment. Jones created a "full, complete treatment of a story" with complete characters and a unique plot, and "whole elements were copied" from it, Brundidge said.
CAA declined to comment. De Passe Jones Entertainment and Disney didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
Jones said he wrote a screenplay titled "Cosmic Force" in 2014, which tells the story of a soldier who leads a mission to the edge of the solar system to learn the truth about his missing astronaut father, and discovers an alien energy source on his father's ship that threatens the universe.
The plot of "Ad Astra" is "essentially the same," an exhibit attached to the complaint said, which also noted several similarities in characters, themes and settings, among other things.
Jones said he submitted the script to 20th Century and CAA, and discussed creating a movie or television show based on it with company representatives in 2015 and 2016.
Jones also said the plot of "Ad Astra" originally revolved around "a group of astronauts who go on a mission to bring a renegade colonist back to Earth." But the complaint says that the plot changed to resemble Jones' script after the companies met with him.
CAA provided talent and arranged financing for "Ad Astra", whose clients working on the film included writer and director James Gray and actors Brad Pitt and Tommy Lee Jones, the complaint said.
The case is Jones v. 20th Century Studios Inc, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, No. 2:21-cv-05890.
For Jones: Carl Brundidge and David Moore of Brundidge & Stanger
For 20th Century and CAA: not available