* Stallone copied work for "The Expendables" - lawsuit
* Writer describes use of identical parts of screenplay
(Adds response from Stallone's publicist, Millennium Films,
By Grant McCool
NEW YORK, Oct 25 Action movie star Sylvester
Stallone is accused in a lawsuit of copying another writer's
screenplay to make "The Expendables," a movie about mercenaries
hired to defeat a military dictator.
The lawsuit was filed in Manhattan federal court on Tuesday
by writer Marcus Webb, who said the screenplay for "The
Expendables" is "strikingly similar and in some places
identical" to his work entitled "The Cordoba Caper."
Webb seeks unspecified damages for copyright infringement
and an order from the court stopping further infringement in
any sequel by Stallone, his credited co-author David Callaham,
Millennium Films, its Nu Image Films unit and Lions Gate
Entertainment Corporation LGF.N.
Stallone's publicist, Michelle Bega, declined to comment.
Millennium Films' general counsel, Frank DeMartini, said
the company had not been served with the lawsuit, and he
declined further comment. A spokeswoman for Lions Gate was not
immediately available for comment.
"The Expendables" -- produced by Millennium and Nu Image
and distributed by Lions Gate -- was released worldwide on Aug.
13, 2010. It featured a cameo appearance by Arnold
Schwarzenegger after he left his post as California governor,
along with other aging action heroes Stallone and Jet Li.
According to the lawsuit, Webb registered "The Cordoba
Caper" screenplay and a short story with the same title and
plot with the U.S. Copyright Office in June 2006. Between 2006
and 2009, the lawsuit said, the screenplay was made widely
available by Webb for consideration in the movie industry.
"There can be no dispute that Stallone and/or Callaham had
access to and copied protectable elements of the screenplay,"
the lawsuit said.
"The Cordoba Caper" tells the story of a team of elite,
highly-trained mercenaries hired to defeat General Garza, a
rogue army general of a small Latin American country," the
The court document provides details of the ways in which
Webb sees similarities between his screenplay and the released
movie, including the opening "with a hostage rescue at sea, off
a foreign coast, which has nothing to do with the main plot."
It said the main villain in both is a General Garza, a
military dictator with a notorious human rights record.
Webb said he has been deprived of benefits from the
screenplay such as potential earnings from the production,
distribution and performance of "The Expendables."
"Expendables 2," a sequel to "The Expendables," is due for
release on Aug. 17, 2012. (See
The case is Marcus Webb v Sylvester Stallone, et al, U.S.
District Court for the Southern District of New York, No.
(Editing by Steve Orlofsky)