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Hollywood Director/Writer Charged with Plagiarism

Gene sez: Having just been submitted to Something’s Got to Give, it’s hard to believe that anyone could be accused of plagiarizing this dullard screenplay. Yet Nancy Meyers who’s credited as both writer and director, is

The New York Post: HOLLYWOOD hotshot Nancy Meyers has been slapped with a multimillion-dollar plagiarism lawsuit that accuses her of “a pattern and practice of engaging in such behavior.”

Katherine Reback claims she wrote and rewrote a script called “Runaround Sue” that eventually became “Something’s Gotta Give,” the new movie starring Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton – credited as being written by Meyers, who also directed and produced it.

To make its case for a “pattern,” Reback’s lawyers seem ready to argue that Meyers also plagiarized the screenplay of “What Women Want,” the Mel Gibson movie from 2000. Sources say Paramount ended up having to pay $700,000 to settle the dispute with screenwriter Diane Drake over that film.

According to a Paramount insider, Meyers received a script from Drake in 1996 titled “Ladies Man” as a writing sample.

In 1999, Meyers signed on to direct and rewrite the script “Head Games,” by Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa.

Meyers, in rewriting the script – about a man able to hear women’s thoughts, just as in Drake’s screenplay – changed the title of “Head Games” to “What Women Want.”

Paramount sources say the rewritten script was very similar to Drake’s “Ladies Man” (not to be confused with the 2000 comedy that starred “Saturday Night Live” veteran Tim Meadows.)

“Nancy was hired by Disney to rewrite a draft of a pitch and used Drake’s material to rewrite it,” a Paramount insider said. “Even the title ‘What Women Want’ was taken directly from a line of dialogue in Drake’s original screenplay, ‘Ladies’ Man.’ ”

“Nancy later told Paramount she had never read Diane’s screenplay, but the record showed she had taken a meeting with Drake based upon the script’s submission as a writing sample,” the Paramount source added.

Drake had her attorneys contact Paramount, and around Dec. 1, 1999, Paramount paid Drake $700,000 – officially saying it was buying “Ladies Man.”

Meyers’ rep, Pat Kingsley said: “Nancy Meyers directed ‘What Women Want’ and is not a credited writer. Diane Drake had a problem with the two writers on the script and through negotiation received story credit along with the two screenwriters and was paid by the studio. The dispute was not about Nancy Meyers.”
 

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