Allegedly, writer-director Guy Ritchie copied an abandoned screenplay from actor and writer Mickey De Hara and turned it into The Gentlemen. De Hara means to gain acknowledgement as one if the writers of the movie and is claiming a sum amounting to a considerable fraction of the film’s box office record.
The 2019 comedy movie entitled The Gentlemen has Ritchie as its writer, producer and director. On record, he developed the story with Ivan Atkinson and Marn Davies. Two writers he also worked on two other projects, namely Wrath of Man in 2021 and Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre just this year.
The Gentlemen starred Matthew McConaughey as Michael Pearson. Pearson is an American wholesaler of marijuana in England. In the story, he means to sell his business, triggering a series of underground stir-up from key players who mean to take over his operation. Joining McConaughey are Charlie Hunnam, Henry Golding, Michelle Dockery, Jeremy Strong, Eddie Marsan, Colin Farrell, and Hugh Grant.
Review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes display the movie as having a score of 75% on the Tomatometer with an 84% Audience Score from more than 5,000 verified raters. Its box office performance was also impressive at $113 million from a $22 million budget.
The movie was successful enough to get a spin-off series order from Netflix last year, and it is currently in development with Theo James starring as its lead. Giancarlo Esposito, Daniel Ings, Joely Richardson, Peter Serafinowicz and others join James as cast.
However, recent developments might get The Gentlemen to face a real-life legal battle.
Guy Ritchie Faces Lawsuit For 2019 Movie The Gentlemen
In an article from Variety, De Hara claims that there are specific elements and even scenes that he wrote in a screenplay he submitted to Ritchie. At the time, Ritchie told him that movies of the gangster storylines were over. Thus, he was shocked to see The Gentlemen having key elements such as characters and even scenes very similar if not lifted from his writing.
De Hara filed the lawsuit in the London High Court last month. He claims that Guy Ritchie commissioned him to write a follow-up movie to RocknRolla. De Hara wrote the sequel based on his personal experience, as he served jail time for possession of illegal drugs.
This implies De Hara has original characterization. Furthermore, he also claims that The Gentlemen copies his cast of characters and “unique aspects of the plot”. Even more specifically, he cited a scene where he claims that a part of his screenplay got directly reproduced.
The movie had a character called Coach, portrayed by Colin Farrell, who handles a group of fighters called The Toddlers. De Hara’s screenplay depicted a character also called Coach, who leads a group named The Baby Squad. The scene where they sprayed vinegar into the eyes of another group in an altercation was allegedly a reproduction from his script.
In addition to these claims, De Hara presented texts from the writer-director after discussing similar aspects of his story. Guy Ritchie allegedly replied:
Mickey, I and my people have tried to contact you for some years now. There was no response. I am happy for us to sit down and have a chat.
De Hara claims that there was no effort from Ritchie about the project before its release. Months later, he again asked Ritchie to grant him a writer credit on The Gentlemen before it got released digitally. However, Ritchie instead offered to give him credit for another project. In the text on file, Ritchie said:
I have a feeling that might be too late Mickey. I’ll try, but what I can do is get you a credit on something in the future. Let me see what I can do. Honestly, we did try to get hold of you.
Understandably, De Hara says in his lawsuit that he does not aim to receive credit for something he did not work on. Further, he only seeks recognition for his work that was used for the movie The Gentlemen without his consent or payment.
The lawsuit states that De Hara is seeking over $250,000. This will be compensation, including a share of the film’s profits.
Guy Ritchie Allegedly Lifted The Gentleman Characters And Scenes From Another Work
De Hara has previously worked with Ritchie on other projects. One of which was for the movie RocknRolla in 2008. Officially, Ritchie was the sole writer of the movie, and De Hara was credited as associate producer together with Martin Askew.
These allegations paint a picture of how production develops behind the camera. While there may be a number of collaborators and creative contributors, only a few names reach the official credit list. As in what happened with RockNRolla, if this is proven to be fact, De Hara did not receive proper credit on this project as well.
As Guy Ritchie has yet to respond to these issues, he also has yet to file his defence. At the moment, it is his word against the other. And even though The Gentlemen could very well seem to be a movie that is right up Ritchie’s alley since he also wrote, directed and produced films within similar genres, De Hara has a claim, as proven by his original work and even his real-life experience himself.
Soon enough, there will be an update about this situation. Somehow, this makes me wonder whether or not Ritchie really authored all his works. Who has the burden of truth?
What do you make of Guy Ritchie facing a lawsuit regarding the movie entitled The Gentlemen? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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