Production on Kelly Reichardt’s new film Night Moves is in danger of being halted amid allegations of plagiarism.
Shooting on the thriller – which stars Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard – is due to begin next month but a lawsuit filed by American Psycho producers Edward R. Pressman Film demands work on the project should be stopped after claims the motion picture shares too many similarities to the Edward Abbey novel The Monkey Wrench Gang.
The Meek’s Cutoff director cast Eisenberg as the ringleader of a group of activists who resort to bombing a dam in order to make their environmental message heard.
Sarsgaard will play the mastermind behind the bomb plot, while Fanning will play a wealthy youth who decides to fund the destructive project.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Edward R. Pressman Film claim both the storyline and characters in Reichardt’s film have already been explored in Abbey’s 1975 novel, the exclusive film rights of which belong to the production company.
The lawsuit states: “By way of example only, both works feature the targeting of a dam for destruction by means of ammonium fertiliser-laden boats. In the novel, the principal bomb-maker is a beer-guzzling veteran who served overseas as a Green Beret, where he acquired his knowledge of explosives.
“The bomb-maker in Night Moves is a beer-guzzling veteran who served overseas as a US Marine, where he acquired his knowledge of explosives. Both the novel and Night Moves also feature a 20-something woman who starts out as a companion of another member of the group but develops a sexual relationship with the bomb-making veteran, despite his initial objections to her participation in the group’s illegal activities.”
Night Moves for Old Joy will be the most high-profile project yet for Reichardt, a critical darling who has worked exclusively in the independent scene througout her career.
The lawyers of Night Moves are now expected to respond to the lawsuit and explain how the forthcoming film is different to The Monkey Wrench Gang.