A Nova Scotia sailor and writer is suing Warner Bros. for allegedly plagiarizing his novel, Fandango’s Gold, for their 2008 Matthew McConaughey/Kate Hudson vehicle Fool’s Gold.
In a statement of claim filed in federal court last week, Lou Boudreau maintains that writer-director Andy Tennant’s screenplay shares uncanny similarities with Boudreau’s book, written in 1999. Fandango’s Gold, based on the author’s real-life experience as a diver and fisherman, was registered with the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia and published in 2006 by Tiller Publishing, a Maryland-based press specializing in nautical books.
The claim doesn’t specify the amount Boudreau is seeking in damages, though he says he’s entitled to the same cut afforded to the screenwriter of the film, which made over $300 million.
From Halifax’s The Chronicle-Herald:
In his statement of claim, Boudreau says his manuscript ended up in the hands of movie industry insiders, particularly in California, because he spent about five years between 1999 and 2004 promoting it.
In an interview… Boudreau said Fandango’s Gold starts out as the tale of a Spanish sailor on a galleon laden with gold sailing for Spain. It runs into a hurricane and is wrecked on a remote atoll in the Caribbean. The crew carries the treasure ashore and hides it in an underground cave with a passage to the sea.
In his statement of claim, Boudreau lists pages of similarities between his book and the film. They include the two romantic leads looking for the galleon’s treasure, the female lead being taken hostage by the bad guys, and the lead characters finding the treasure in an underground cave and swimming through an underwater tunnel to safety.
Boudreau is wading into risky waters “ many an author has taken on big U.S. production companies and filmmakers, and the results haven’t necessarily been favourable. (Remember when Rebecca Eckler took on Judd Apatow in 2007?) In the end, Boudreau says he has to stand up for his work and his “moral rights.”
“I’m the little schooner captain from Cape Breton and they are Warner Bros. Therein lies the great inequity,” he told The Chronicle-Herald. “It’s important for me because I wrote this book. It was very personal to me.”