Short story … Franco has a new movie — “Bukowski” — which is about to be released … it’s about Charles Bukowski, a famous fiction writer who died the year O.J. killed Nicole.
Enter Cyril Humphris, who owns the rights to Bukowski’s autobiography. Cyril says back in 2009 he gave Franco the right to create a screenplay based on the book, but the option expired a year later.
Cyril says Franco’s movie is clearly based on the autobiography … in other words, he ripped Cyril off.
But Franco says in new legal docs Cyril is full of crap. Franco says he was inspired by Bukowski’s writings and independently came up with the idea for the movie.
Sorry, dude – if you option the rights to a movie on Bukowski, let those rights expire and then decide to do a movie on Bukowski, you did not come up with that on your own. You used material you began developing when you optioned that book, thereby making it directly derivative and you need to pay up.
Here’s what I don’t quite understand: James is not broke. He is not some D-List actor with no money to honestly fund his projects, so why be an asshole? Re-option the screenplay and everyone will be happy and you won’t be an asshole. End of.