In Court

‘Gravity’ lawsuit filed by ‘Rizzoli & Isles’ author

First she said that the movie had nothing to do with her book but today Tess Gerritsen is suing Warner Bros over the Alfonso Cuaron-directed "Gravity." 

In a breach of contract complaint filed in federal court in LA, the prolific author on whose books TNT‘s flagship drama series "Rizzoli & Isles" is based now says she wants millions from the Oscar-winning movie. 

Gerritsen alleges that she is owned a “based upon” credit, a $500,000 production bonus and a 2.5% of the net proceeds from any film derived from her 1999 novel "Gravity," which New Line optioned the year it came out. Being that the Sandra Bullock and George Clooney-starring film has made more than $716 million worldwide since its release last October 4, Gerritsen could be aiming for some big bucks if her lawyer ever gets the real final figures from WB accounting. 

And the fact is her Gravity does share some details with the movie – both are about a female astronaut trapped in space and fighting for her life, though the former involves a virus on the International Space Station and the latter does not at all.

Still, the book does sound a lot like the pic Cuaron co-wrote with his son Jonas, but today’s suit takes a very different line than Gerritsen was giving as recently as October of last year. “Yes, 'Gravity' is a great film, but it is not based on my book,” the author bluntly told the Banner Graphic of Greencastle, Indiana. There’s no detailed explanation in today’s filing as to why that has changed but it obviously has. A WB spokesman today had no comment on the suit except to say the studio had not yet even been served.

The courts in LA are littered with plaintiffs certain that their work was stolen or by the studios or networks. Some are right or at least on the right path but many are dreaming and to some extent, hoping. However, very few of them have the credentials or the credits of Gerritsen With two dozen novels to her name plus a 1993 CBS Movie of the Week screenplay and the broad strokes  similarities between her work and the movie, this likely will not be one of those cases that is dismissed quickly or easily. 

Doesn’t help that they have the exact same name.

Glen Kulik of Sheman Oaks’ firm Kulik Gottesman & Siegel LLP is representing Gerritsen in the legal action.