There’s a new twist to the thriller “Gone Girl” — the creative team behind the hit novel and film are being sued by an author who says the story was her idea.
Leslie Weller, of Nevada, slapped a federal lawsuit on Chicago author Gillian Flynn on Wednesday, claiming copyright infringement. Weller says the “Gone Girl” storyline ripped off her 2005 screenplay “Out of the Blue.” Weller wants all copies of “Gone Girl” impounded or destroyed and all profits from the novel or book be handed over to her.
Released in 2012, Flynn’s novel sold more than 15 million print copies and spent over 130 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, 37 of those in the No. 1 spot.
A graduate of Northwestern University, Flynn wrote the novel and the screenplay for the 2014 film adaptation starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, and Neil Patrick Harris. The lawsuit, brought in U.S. District Court in Chicago, also targets Flynn’s publisher, actress Reese Witherspoon, who produced the film, and director David Fincher.
Weller’s Chicago attorney, Adam Urbanczyk, said in an email that there are “numerous striking similarities” between the stories.
The lawsuit alleges that every major twist in the story is the same, and some scenes are nearly identical. In addition to the plot, the lawsuit alleges that the structure, psychological composition, and characters in “Out of the Blue” were copied.
In an emailed statement Friday, Flynn said: “This claim is entirely without merit, and I look forward to a speedy resolution of the matter by the Court.”
The lawsuit also says Flynn may have had access to a copy of Weller’s script.
In 2008, according to the lawsuit, Weller gave copies to script consultant Alessandra Pilar. Weller’s lawsuit alleges Pilar had connections to Flynn’s book agency, New York-based Levine Greenberg Literary Agency Inc.
Weller’s argument, as laid out in the suit, suggests a copy of her script made its way to Flynn’s agents who offer “writer collaboration” services and that the agency may have helped Flynn with developing the concept of her story. In the “Gone Girl” novel, Flynn thanks the agency for “excellent guidance.” Weller alleges this guidance led Flynn to create an “unauthorized derivative work” based on “Out of the Blue.”
Flynn’s agency confirmed they represent the author but had no comment on the lawsuit.