Sunday, Deadline posted a story about how screenwriter James Toback was rather upset to find out secondhand that Paramount was planning a remake of The Gambler. Toback was the writer of the original version, which he considers one of his more personal films. Chief among Toback's complaints was the fact that the studio didn't even offer the courtesy of letting him know about the remake before announcing it to the world via Deadline.
Legally, Paramount was under no obligation to do so. They bought the script. They own the property. In a legal sense, Toback has no claim to the material any longer so there's no reason they would have had to tell him - but would it at least have been the moral thing to do.
This isn't the first such case of this happening. Wes Craven was rather blunt last year when discussing the fact that he wasn't consulted about the remake of what is arguably the film most associated with him - A Nightmare on Elm Street. He not only directed the original film, but he wrote the script and created the character of Freddy Krueger. Considering the studio had been looking to jump-start the franchise, you'd think they'd have at least courted him in an effort to secure his blessing, yet all indications from Craven are that they didn't. But again, they didn't have to.
And of course, the people who hold the rights to the original film version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer have been trying for a few years now to get their reboot off the ground - without the involvement of creator Joss Whedon. This again strikes me as a botched move, as not getting Whedon's blessing runs the risk of alienating his loyal fan base.
But what do you think? No laws are being broken here, so it's not as if the studios or producers owe the original creators anything in a legal sense. If you were in the studio's shoes, would you have given the original writers a courtesy call? If you were one of those original writers, would it bug you to find this stuff out from a third party, or do you think you'd accept that this is how the business works.
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