I don’t work in Hollywood. I don’t know how it all functions. I’ve met a few people who do, though, and it’s not hard to imagine it’s all like one big Wolf Of Wall Street yacht party, with coke-fueled, swinging dick rage-bros thinking they’re as untouchable as Scarface, beating their chests and blowing rails off a starlet’s behind.
How else do you wind up with a situation where Universal pays screenwriter Aaron Berg a million bucks for Section 6, a script in which, according to IMDB, “a British war vet is tasked with a secret mission...to prevent a diplomatic catastrophe by recovering a coded assassination order in Russia.” I mean, that is EXACTLY the plot of From Russia With Love, but Universal seems to have said “fuck it, bro!” Possibly while Eiffel Towering some poor Hollywood hopeful. MGM and the producers of the James Bond franchise totally noticed, though, so they took off their T-shirts and came at Universal with a 41 page lawsuit.
In the suit, the MGM bros point out that Section 6 features a tuxedo-clad secret agent who introduces himself as “Duncan. Alec Duncan.” Duncan apparently carries a double-oh status, giving him a license to kill. The suit becomes heavily redacted at this point, but claims the script plagiarizes no fewer than SIX Bond films, including Goldfinger and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. All the good ones! Dick move. Universal’s initial defense was "Dude, you can't copyright, like, HISTORY," stating that Section 6, set in 1919, is more of an account of the formation of the British Secret Service, but MGM House vetoed this, noting in their suit that both the “license to kill” concept and the "00" prefix were fictional creations of Ian Fleming, and forged ahead with the lawsuit.
Then the boyz at Universal were all like, “slow your roll, brah,” citing the hiring of new writers as proof that Berg’s script is being overhauled to downplay the more direct references to the James Bond character and mythos. But the MGM crew were like, “nah, bro,” stating in court documents that “Universal has paid Berg over $1 million for the Screenplay and it would be contrary to industry practice, and make no sense, to pay anything close to that amount of money for a screenplay whose characters, plot, key dialogue, themes, settings, etc., the buyer intended to immediately discard." Then someone probably mimed a mic drop while guys in tank tops hooted and hollered behind him.
Next Dudiversal was like, “Bro, we might not even MAKE this movie, why don’t you chill?” and the MGM frat president was like, “Bro, you just hired Joe Cornish to direct it and Jack O’Connell to star in it, you’re totally lying to my face right now.” And then one bro from each studio probably got in each other’s face for a parking lot staredown filled with uncomfortable sexual tension.
We’ll see how this shakes out, but I think we can agree that the real bummer here is that Joe Cornish isn’t going to be directing a Bond film anytime soon.
It’s Friday and your bosses probably left early, so you should check out the full 41-page court document today.