April 28, 2011 5:01pm PT by Borys Kit, Matthew Belloni
Writer Appeals 'X-Men: First Class' Screenplay Credits (Exclusive)
The battle over screenwriting credits on one of summer's most anticipated movies isn't over yet.
Jamie Moss has appealed the Writers Guild of America's ruling in an unusually complicated credit arbitration over the June superhero tentpole X-Men: First Class.
As The Hollywood Reporter first reported, WGA arbitrators determined on Tuesday that Ashley Miller & Zack Stentz and Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn will share screenplay credit on the Fox/Marvel film, while Sheldon Turner and Bryan Singer will be given "story by" credit. Moss and Josh Schwartz, the first two writers on First Class, were left out even as Turner, who never wrote on the script, was included. (Full backstory on the dispute here.)
Now sources tell THR that Moss has challenged the decision. Singer, a producer on the movie and the director of the first two X-Men movies, is also said to have been disappointed by the decision and on Wednesday reserved his right to an appeal, but sources say he will not move forward with the effort. Schwartz decided not to appeal.
This has set up a showdown with a WGA appeals board, with a hearing expected to take place on Friday morning.
Moss is said to be upset that Turner -- who penned a script for a scrapped Magneto spinoff, elements of which were incorporated into First Class -- is receiving a story credit while Moss's work on an early version of First Class is not being recognized.
A source close to the case says a key issue is the sequencing of the film's development and how much access Moss had to the Magneto script. The writer is also expected to argue that WGA policy requires that each scribe be informed about new writers working on the same project, and Moss says he wasn't informed about the Magneto project.
Another complication in the process that X-Men, Magneto and X-Men: First Class are based on decades worth of comics lore, which was not submitted by the studio as source material but serve as underpinnings to the new movie.
The squabble might seem petty but, as screenwriters know, credits can mean big bucks in royalties and bonuses, especially on blockbuster films.
A decision on the appeal is expected shortly after the Friday hearing.
Email: Borys.Kit@thr.com, Matthew.Belloni@thr.com