Local author Gerritsen files lawsuit against Warner Bros.
Camden — Camden resident and author Tess Gerritsen on April 29 filed a lawsuit against Warner Bros. Entertainment, alleging the box office smash "Gravity" was based on her novel of the same name, while she received no credit or compensation.
The civil lawsuit filed in California alleges a breach of written contract and breach of continuing guaranty.
A statement released by Gerritsen April 30 states film rights to her book titled "Gravity" were sold to Katja Motion Picture Corp. and its parent company New Line Productions — both companies are also named in the lawsuit — but production of a potential film was discontinued in 2002.
She states Warner Bros. acquired Katja and New Line in 2008 and last year, when she became aware of the film "Gravity," she also discovered that "one individual key to the development of the film" more than a decade ago continued to be involved and was aware of the story line's connection to her novel by the same name.
"Writing 'Gravity' was the most daunting challenge of my career. Even with my background in science, it took exhaustive research, visits to NASA facilities, and interviews with scientists, engineers, flight surgeons, project managers, spaceflight historians, and numerous NASA personnel before I felt knowledgeable enough to write even a single page of this highly technical story. It is the novel I am proudest of," Gerritsen said in a written statement. "While I cannot make further comments on this matter, I want to thank my readers and fellow writers for their kindness and support. If this happened to me, it can happen to any writer."
According to the lawsuit, film Director Alfonso Cuaron "was attached to the Gerritsen Gravity Project and worked on developing the Book into a Picture. Gerritsen was not told of this attachment at the time." Cuaron received screenplay credit for the film along with his son Jonas, the lawsuit states, and Cuaron was director of the $700 million-grossing film.
Gerritsen states in the lawsuit that her agreement with Katja/New Line transferred to Warner Bros. and the terms of the agreement were breached. According to the lawsuit, the terms included a $500,000 production bonus as well as a percentage of defined net proceeds from the film as well as screen credit and credit in advertising materials. Estimated damages for the breach of contract are more than $10 million.
In the lawsuit, Gerritsen requests a trial by jury.
In the original contract with Katja, Gerritsen was paid $1 million for the film rights to "Gravity." The book was published by Simon and Schuster in September 1999.
Courier Publications Editor Stephanie Grinnell can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at email@example.com.