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1 item from 2002

Screenwriter Claims HBO Stole 'Six Feet Under' Idea

9 August 2002 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

The makers of hit US series Six Feet Under are being sued by a woman who claims they stole the idea for the show from her. Screenwriter Gwen O'Donnell says she wrote a screenplay called The Funk Parlour in 1997 and registered it in 1998 with the Writers Guild Of America. She claims her idea is so close to the HBO show that there can be little doubt it is a blatant rip-off of the funeral parlor drama. O'Donnell also claims HBO boss Chris Albrecht had access to her script in 1999, months before he approached Oscar-winning American Beauty writer Alan Ball to work on the successful show. Plot details which allegedly take place in both O'Donnell's screenplay and Six Feet Under include the fact that the family lives in the funeral home, that the story begins with the death of the family patriarch, that the younger brother is gay; the father leaves the brothers the business and that there is a younger, smart-mouthed female teenager in the family. The writ seeks damages in excess of $19.5 million on behalf of Funky Films - which is producing an independent feature based on The Funk Parlour - and $9.75 million on behalf of O'Donnell, according to Variety. »

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