Night Moves might be stopped before it is even started. In a copyright infringement civil suit (read it here) filed Thursday, Edward R. Pressman Film and Clarke Abbey, widow of author Edward Abbey, are asking federal court to shut down the film because of its similarity to Abbey’s 1975 novel The Monkey Wrench Gang. Abbey and Pressman, who owns the film option to the novel, are also seeking unspecified damages from the defendants. And there are a lot of defendants named in the eight-page suit. Director Kelly Reichardt, her screenwriting partner Jonathan Raymond, Night Moves executive producers Todd Haynes, Larry Fessenden, Alejandro De Leon, Film Science, and RT Features CEO Rodrigo Teixeira are among those named. So is The Match Factory GmbH, the foreign sales agent for Night Moves, who was working at the Toronto Film Festival last week for the film. Also named as a defendant is UTA Independent Film Group. The agency division is the domestic sales agent for Night Moves. Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard are set to star. But that might not happen if Pressman and the estate get their way. Abbey’s book, Pressman’s adaptation and Night Moves, which isn’t set to start filming until later this fall, center on environmentalists who are trying to blow up a dam. The lawsuit charges that “Raymond and Reichardt copied protectable elements of the novel in writing Night Moves and, since they had no authorization from plaintiffs to do so, they thereby infringed the exclusive rights in the novel afforded to plaintiffs under the Copyright Act.” Pressman is producing The Monkey Wrench Gang with Grammy-winning album cover artist Gary Burden. They have brought on board Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, the brothers behind the 2010 documentary Catfish and Paranormal Activity 3 to write and direct the adaptation of Abbey’s novel. The plaintiffs are represented in this case by Michael Niborski and James Janowitz out of the LA offices of Pryor Cashman.
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