Where does modern myth end and IP infringement begin? If you're Matt and Ross Duffer, creators of Netflix's Stranger Things, you hope that whispered theories of government conspiracy, time-travel, and mind-altering experiments are owned by the people.
A new lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court claims that the Duffers appropriated the idea for the hit sci-fi series, now gearing up for Season 3, and that they could potentially owe millions in the wake of its phenomenon status. But finding justice in the suit could be tricky, depending on how much of Stranger Things could be considered "true."
The plaintiff, Charlie Kessler, alleges that he met Matt and Ross Duffer at an after-party at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, at which he pitched them on a script he had written called The Montauk Project. The script was based on his 2010 short film Montauk, which itself culled from a long history of paranormal-adjacent activity in the Long Island town. As detailed in the suit, Kessler's The Montauk Project follows a character named Steve, who goes searching for a missing boy, only to encounter kids with psychic superpowers, a series of subterranean tunnels, portals breaching the space-time continuum, and a monster created out of the image of the missing boy's favorite toy. It sounds… familiar.