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Gary Oldman accused of lifting parts of 'Darkest Hour' from screenwriter

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Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Netflix(LOS ANGELES) — Gary Oldman is being sued by a screenwriter who claims that parts of the film Darkest Hour, for which Oldman won a best actor Oscar for playing Winston Churchill, were lifted from his script.

Ben Kaplan, a teacher and screenwriter who has worked on several History Channel film series, filed the suit on Los Angels Superior Court on Friday, claiming that Oldman had agreed to using his Churchill script, before abandoning the project and signing on to do Darkest Hour, according to documents obtained by Variety.

The suit argues that Darkest Hour borrowed fictional scenes and ahistorical elements from Kaplan’s script, including the false claim that Churchill came up with the idea for the British civilian armada that helped evacuate Dunkirk.

The suit also alleges that the two scripts share a similar story arc, both ending with Churchill’s “We shall fight on the beaches” speech.

Kaplan claims he started writing the script in 1999, and registered it with the Writers Guild of America in three years later, per Variety.  He allegedly teamed up with a producer in 2011, who then partnered with StudioCanal and Sierra/Affinity.  The producer also allegedly agreed to a deal with Oldman that would pay the actor a $6 million fee, before he dropped out in March 2015.

The complaint alleges “false designation of origin” under federal trademark law, as well as claims of breach of implied contract, unfair business practices and interference with contract.

NBCUniversal is also named in the suit.

By George Costantino
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