How ‘Pulp Fiction’ and ‘Django Unchained’ could make you $10 million richer

Written by by Karen Hall, CNN

It is film history’s cornerstone — and their latest work. But people who want to see the characters they fell in love with on the big screen may be out of luck, as Miramax, the Weinstein Company and the estate of director Quentin Tarantino are currently taking legal action against the World War II flick “Inglourious Basterds.”

The four companies are claiming that Tarantino, in the latest effort to turn his beloved film “Pulp Fiction” into a stage musical, has infringed on their copyrights, staking a claim that he also stole elements from Tarantino’s 1989 film “Django Unchained.”

A lawsuit filed at the US District Court in Los Angeles on Tuesday claims that the filmmaker “cast Aussie performers as American blacks and whites and used American actors in roles originally played by non-US actors” in “Inglourious Basterds.”

“Tarantino’s work, whether or not it is directly inspired by (‘Pulp Fiction’) does not confer a valid copyright interest because there is no substantial similarity or similarity of the works that can be attributed to any particular author,” the lawsuit reads.

Tarantino has denied these allegations

The theater producers have asked the court to prevent the US premiere of Tarantino’s new play — entitled “Pulp Fiction the Musical” — from taking place at L.A.’s La Jolla Playhouse, scheduled for June 20.

While The Weinstein Company bought the rights to “Django Unchained” from Tarantino, La Jolla Playhouse general manager, Michael Weinstein said in a statement, “We will continue working in good faith with Quentin to ensure that we are able to present this groundbreaking work of theater that elevates entertainment and inspires transformative ideas of democracy and redemption.”

He added, “We hope to continue to work with Tarantino and with the innovative La Jolla Playhouse to continue to bring the work of one of the country’s great playwrights to the audiences in Los Angeles.”

In 2010, Tarantino announced that he would make a stage musical version of “Pulp Fiction.” But in February, after some delays, he said he’d decided to put it on hold, commenting that he did not have “confidence that that script would pass through the live theatre workshop process unscathed. I don’t know if we’ll ever get to put it on, but I do want to see it. The screenplay is one of the best I’ve ever written, so that might make it easier to do when I’m more confident that I’ll get it through the process intact.”

La Jolla Playhouse said they “stand behind the collaborative spirit of the whole process and Tarantino’s creative vision. They are very interested in moving forward and believe that the timing is ideal with the play on the upcoming schedule.”

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