Stranger Things creators Matt and Ross Duffer are being sued for allegedly stealing the concept of their Netflix show from a short film and a feature film script, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The short film, Montauk, was premiered at the 2012 Hamptons International Film Festival.
Charlie Kessler, the director of the film, filed a lawsuit against the Duffer brothers on Tuesday claiming that he had pitched the concept to them in April 2014 at a Tribeca Film Festival party. He adds that he later presented “the script, ideas, story and film” to the siblings, which he claims they used to develop their acclaimed Netflix series. Kessler’s concept was a science-fiction story set near an abandoned military base and involved a missing boy and a monster that resembles a toy.
“After the massive success of Stranger Things that is based on Plaintiff’s concepts that Plaintiffs discussed with Defendants, Defendants have made huge sums of money by producing the series based on Plaintiff’s concepts without compensating or crediting Plaintiff for his Concepts,” Kessler’s suit reads. He is seeking an injunction ordering the Duffers to stop using his concepts and to destroy all materials based on those concepts, monetary damages, and a jury trial.
According to a Deadline story from 2015, Stranger Things was initially titled Montauk. “Described as a love letter to the ’80s classics that captivated a generation, the series is set in 1980 Montauk, Long Island, where a young boy vanishes into thin air. As friends, family and local police search for answers, they are drawn into an extraordinary mystery involving top-secret government experiments, terrifying supernatural forces and one very strange little girl,” Deadline reported.