James Franco sued over Charles Bukowski movie rights


British screenwriter Cyril Humphris has filed a lawsuit against James Franco for violating movie rights to Charles Bukowski’s semi-autobiographical novel Ham on Rye.

According to Humphris, he owns the movie rights to the novel, which he alleges Franco adapted for the film he wants to make about the famous writer.

The lawsuit states that in 2009, Franco and Humphris came to an agreement in which the actor would have “certain rights” to develop a film based on the novel. However, the agreement expired the following year.

In his suit, Humphris claims Franco’s Bukowski film “borrows the Novel’s themes of childhood loneliness; adolescent self-consciousness; the failures, hypocrisy, and cruelty of adults; and, in an unflinching depiction, the crude interest teenage boys take in love.”

He adds, “The film incorporates entire scenes, including substantially their dialogue, from the novel.”

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The suit further alleges that “Mr. Humphris has not authorized Mr. Franco, or anyone else, to make the film. In fact, after learning of Mr. Franco’s project, Mr. Humphris emailed him to express his concern and to ask for a copy of the shooting script for the film.”

Franco responded once, saying he was working on “a little project” with some friends from NYU, based on “one of Bukowski’s biographies”, and Humphris never heard from Franco again after that.

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