Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard, the Oscar winning screenplay team for the 1999 film Shakespeare in Love, are en route to the courthouse along with production companies Universal Pictures and Miramax Film Corp., according to The Hollywood Reporter. The lawsuit was filed by another pair of writers, Don Miller and Peter Hassinger, who wrote Dark Lady, a 1991 script for a film that was never made.
U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson has reviewed the case for four months and has decided to allow it to go before the courts due to possible copyright infringement.
“A reasonable jury could find that Shakespeare in Love is substantially similar to protected elements of The Dark Lady,” Pregerson said.
Miller and Hassinger claim they tried to sell their script to Hollywood production companies but were informed that the Shakespeare story would not sell, BBC News reports. The men allege Universal Pictures told them they would not make the film, then took the script, striking a deal with Miramax (both of which eventually produced Shakespeare in Love).
On the other hand, Oscar winner Marc Norman claims he got the idea not from the Dark Lady script, but from a conversation with his son about the story of Romeo and Juliet.
This is not the first copyright lawsuit Norman and Stoppard have faced. American mystery author Faye Kellerman, has also sued the duo for allegedly copying her 1989 novel The Quality of Mercy.