In 2012, Charlie Kessler released his short film Montauk. Most people haven’t seen that short film, but they might recognize its name. Netflix ordered eight episodes of a television series under the placeholder name “Montauk” in 2015. By July 2016, that same series was released under its now famous title Stranger Things. Millions of people know about the supernatural series created by the Duffer brothers.
Stranger Things was originally set in Montauk, New York, just like Kessler’s short film. At some point in development, the locale was changed to Indiana. Kessler recently served a lawsuit to the Duffer brothers, claiming theft of intellectual property. He believes the Duffer brothers ripped off his short film and a related project. In fact, the lawsuit mentions Kessler pitched Montauk to the brothers in 2014.
After its release, Stranger Things became an international hit with millions of viewers. A second season of the series was ordered soon after the first episode aired. Viewers eagerly await the debut of a third season. Plus, the Duffer brothers have seen their names become well-known. It doesn’t hurt the brothers have earned millions of dollars off their television show, with many more millions to come.
Kessler is seeking damages and credit for being the mind behind Stranger Things. Of course, it’s too early to tell how valid his claims are today. More details will be revealed as the lawsuit progresses. Many television show and movie creators are sued for taking the idea of another filmmaker or writer. A large number of these cases go nowhere, but they sometimes have some validity and result in a settlement.
In Kessler’s case, the details might seem a little too coincidental for onlookers. We won’t know more until the lawsuit heads to the courtroom, if a settlement isn’t reached.