Fox, New Regency Sued for Allegedly Stealing 'In Time' Idea

A Greek screenwriter says he met with Fox about an action-adventure love story set in the future -- now the basis of the New Regency movie.

A screenwriter in Athens, Greece, on Monday filed a lawsuit against 20th Century Fox and New Regency, claiming the studios stole his idea for an action-adventure love story set in the future for the Justin Timberlake-Amanda Seyfried movie In Time.

Odysseus Lappas is suing in Los Angeles Superior Court for breach of contract, slander of title, unfair business practices and other claims connected to his allegation that his idea for a movie he called Time Card has been stolen. He is demanding at least $4.5 million. 

In Time, charges the suit, "includes nearly every creative element of the Time Card synopsis." Lappas adds that In Time is "uncannily similar to the Time Card synopsis."

Read the Complaint here.

Lappas says in the suit that in 1996 he conceived and wrote a synopsis about a man and woman in the future, at a time when human life had changed and people would die after reaching their 25th birthday. In the synopsis, the main character, a man who is broke and nearly out of time, falls in love with a rich woman who is virtually immortal. He battles with antagonists for his love and life.

In October 1996, Lappas says he met Costas Michalopoulos, a script reader for Fox, through a mutual friend, George Pofantis. A copy of the Time Card synopsis was sent to Michalopoulos. Lappas says he met with Michalopoulos and was offered $50,000 for the idea. Lappas said he wanted to direct but was told the studio only wanted to acquire the material.

Michalopoulos made a final offer of $80,000 on behalf of Fox, according to the suit, but Lappas rejected it because he still wanted to direct.

The suit says Lappas had a reasonable expectation that if the idea was used for a movie, he would be compensated and given screen credit.

Then in 2011, In Time was released.

The suit points out Fox has an interest in and a close relationship with the movie’s producer, New Regency.

There was no comment from 20th Century Fox or New Regency.