Bestselling author Tess Gerritsen is suing Warner Bros. for $10 million for breach of contract, claiming the studio ripped the story for Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity from her 1999 novel, also titled Gravity.
In 1999, Gerritsen – perhaps best known for a series of crime novels that inspired TNT’s Rizzoli & Isles – sold the film rights to Gravity to Katja Motion Picture Corporation and its parent company, New Line Productions, for $1 million. According to a breach of contract complaint filed in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Gerritsen was entitled to a $500,000 production bonus and 2.5 percent of 100 percent of the net proceeds if the film was made. Since 2008, Warner Bros. has owned and controlled New Line and Katja. The 2013 Warner Bros. film starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney has made more than $716 million worldwide.
Gerritsen claims that she wrote and submitted additional material for the film, including “scenes of satellite debris colliding with the International Space Station, the destruction of the ISS, and the surviving female medical doctor/astronaut left drifting n her space suit, alone and untethered, seeking the means to return to Earth.” She says that to her knowledge, efforts to develop the film ended in 2012.
Gerritsen states that she has since been informed that Cuarón was involved in developing her project, long before serving as writer/director on the Gravity film that bears his name.
The author is seeking a jury trial, saying she is owed a “Based on the book by Tess Gerritsen” credit and the bonus and royalties outlined in her original contract, which is estimated to be at least $10 million.