You may have heard about In Time, Andrew Niccol's new sci-fi thriller about a dystopian future which has monetized the amount of time you have to live. You get paid in time, you trade time, and you could theoretically live forever if you're rich enough. Acclaimed author Harlan Ellison has obviously heard about it, because he's pissed. The writer of famous episodes of The Outer Limits and Star Trek thinks it's a rip-off of his short story Repent, Harlequin! Said The Ticktockman, which admittedly has a much better title. But he's not just suing for an injunction against the film – a common practice – apparently he wants Fox to "dispose" of all prints of the film.
Hollywood Reporter broke the story, which details some of the similarities between the two intellectual properties (which we haven't seen or read, respectively). They describe some of the similarities as follows: "the manipulation of time an individual can live, the type of death experienced by those whose time runs out, rebellion by story protagonists, and so forth." Sounds similar. Apparently famed film critic Richard Roeper actually thought upon seeing the film that In Time was actually based on Ellison's story. That doesn't bode well.
Andrew Niccol, it should be noted, is no hack. The Academy Award-nominated screenwriter of The Truman Show also wrote and directed such fine films as Gattaca, S1m0ne and The Lord of War. His next film is currently scheduled to be The Host, based on the science fiction story by Twilight author Stephanie Meyer.
Harlan Ellison is famous for this kind of controversy, having sued the makers of Terminator for their significant similarities to Ellison's Outer Limits episodes Soldier and Demon with a Glass Hand. That particular lawsuit settled out of court, but Ellison pretty much "won" because he's now credited on all new prints and releases of that seminal action film.
These sorts of lawsuits almost always settle out of court, but Ellison's not known for backing down easily, so it should be interesting to see where how this winds up. Destroying all the prints of the film, though? That's some serious s**t.
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