Harlan Ellison was apparently attempting to sue director Andrew Niccol (Gattaca) and production company New Regency over their film’s, In Time, coincidentally similar plot line to the author’s short story “Repent, Harlequin! Said The Ticktockman.” The prolific science fiction writer (“The Twilight Zone,” “Star Trek,” novels, etc.) has sued previous film productions and won financial and inspired-by credit awards, specifically with James Cameron’s Terminator. So even though I hadn’t heard of the case until it’s ending, it wasn’t surprising to read. The 1997 illustrated edition of “Repent” description on Amazon reads:
“The Harlequin, a non-conformist (and perpetually late) rebel in a future society where conformity and punctuality are the gods of a totalitarian world. Taking time to stop and smell the roses, The Harlequin becomes a disruptive diversion to an otherwise well-ordered, suppressed populace. And that’s something their leader, The Ticktockman, can’t allow.”
The trailer for the movie starring Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried certainly contains many of those elements, enough so that it isn’t hard to imagine why the legendarily litigious Ellison might have leaped too far on his Jump To Conclusions mat. But it seems that Ellison has finally seen In Time, and while not commenting on the movie itself, he has subsequently dropped the lawsuit, and the film’s producers have stated they did not settle out of court. It’s possible that after seeing it, the writer determined that he was mistaken, but it’s equally possible he decided being associated with In Time wasn’t worth another private yacht.
Jesse Eisenberg, on the other hand, has just hit Lionsgate and Grindstone Entertainment with a lawsuit that claims the publicity materials for their horror film Camp Hell oversteps his image and likeness rights. By his own admission, Eisenberg appeared in the Jesus Camp meets The Exorcist low budget production in 2007 as a favor to some friends, but the companies in question decided now was exactly the right time to cash in (cash out?) on the recent Oscar nominees’ success. Not that this DVD cover art, theatrical poster, and trailer below capitalize too heavily on Eisenberg’s “less-than-five-minute” cameo, giving “glorified” a whole new height (depth?):
For this offense against himself, his fans, and the industry, Eisenberg wants $3 million from the distributor and production company, which is 3000% more than he was compensated for appearing in Camp Hell. In fairness, Eisenberg isn’t suing the actual filmmakers, his (at least one-time) friends, but I’m pretty certain nobody besides him really gives a shit. Hell, if he weren’t suing, we probably wouldn’t have even known about the movie. Now Amazon is nearly sold out. So much for maintaining that precious public persona, eh?
Rob Payne also writes the indie comic The Unstoppable Force, tweets on the Twitter @RobOfWar, and his wares can be purchased here. He can’t wait for the day when he gets to sue Ted Turner over his live-action Captain Planet cast.