• The Hollywood Reporter on LinkedIn
  • Follow THR on Pinterest

'Last Samurai' Legal Dispute Becomes Battle Over Which Side Is Forging Evidence (Analysis)

Forensic document analysis, DNA tests, and multiple iterations of the same letter are all part of an ongoing lawsuit from two brothers claiming that the studio is a thief.

Tom_Cruise_Last Samurai_2011_P

Who’s the mystery person haunting Warner Bros. by sending incriminating evidence that allegedly proves the studio stole its 2003 blockbuster film, The Last Samurai?

Two weeks ago, we reported how a strange letter had turned up after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal had revived a lawsuit brought by Aaron and Matthew Benay, who had also authored a WGA-registered script entitled "The Last Samurai." The letter arrived anonymously from an individual who seemingly loathes Warner Bros. and has familiarity with their various legal troubles. The letter included private e-mails from producers of The Last Samurai and purports to show that the plaintiffs’ work was indeed stolen.

Warner Bros. is enraged by the letter and has an idea about who's behind it. The studio believes the documents are a forgery, and that the letter came from the plaintiffs’ side. On Wednesday, Warners asked a Los Angeles Superior Court judge to terminate the case as a necessary punishment to prevent fraud on the judicial system.

But the Benay brothers are fighting, pointing to a DNA test that shows they weren’t behind the mystery letter, and hurling tampering charges against Warner Bros.