Back in 2012, a short film called Montauk from filmmaker Charlie Kessler garnered some attention at The Hamptons Film Festival for its intriguing sci-fi story about a government research lab conducting strange experiments outside of a small American town (which leads to a bunch of weird stuff happening, including a child going missing and a monster from another dimension being released). Two years later, the filmmaker behind the short says he met with Matt and Ross Duffer to discuss a feature-length version of the story.
Now, he’s suing them, claiming they stole his ideas to make Stranger Things. He might actually have a strong case.
Back in 2015, when Deadline first reported that Netflix had greenlit a new sci-fi series from the Duffer brothers, the show was to be called Montauk and would have been set in Montauk, not Indiana—just like Kessler’s story.
In his suit, Kessler said, “After the massive success of Stranger Things that is based on Plaintiff’s concepts that Plaintiffs discussed with Defendants, Defendants have made huge sums of money by producing the series based on Plaintiff’s concepts without compensating or crediting Plaintiff for his Concepts.”
From The Hollywood Reporter: “Kessler is seeking an injunction ordering the Duffers to stop using his concepts and to destroy all materials based on those concepts, as well as restitution, lost profits and punitive damages.”