VANCOUVER, B.C. (CN) – A Vancouver restaurant owner claims filmmaker James Cameron swiped “Avatar” from a screenplay he wrote and sent to Cameron’s company in 2002. Emil Malak claims Cameron’s work, the biggest movie blockbuster of all time, was based on his screenplay, “Terra Incognita.” But Cameron told The Hollywood Reporter that he wrote “Avatar” 2 years before Malak claims to have written “Terra Incognita.”
Malak went on a media blitz Monday – the day after the Oscar awards – telling a local radio host that he’s not “making a claim that [Cameron] stole it.”
“He must have read it and it was embedded in his head for three years,” Malak said. “It’s not 100 percent identical, but the building blocks are very identical on the concept, the story, the screenplay and the characters.”
Malak also sued Twentieth Century Fox, Dune Entertainment, Ingenious Film Partners, Future Service Inc. and Lightstorm Entertainment.
He seeks damages for copyright infringement: “for substantially reproducing, adapting and publicly presenting, or in the alternative authorizing such acts, the plaintiffs’ work ‘Terra Incognita’ as a literary work and a cinematographic work entitled ‘Avatar.'”
He is represented by Suzan El-Khatib.