Mark Wahlberg And Dwayne Johnson Sued For Copyright Infringement Over ‘Ballers’
Two writers have sued actors Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, along with Ballers creator Stephen Levinson and HBO. The writers, Everette Silas and Sherri Littleton, claim that HBO and the series producers stole the basic premise of the show from an original movie of theirs called Off Season.
The pair filed suit on Thursday in U.S. District Court in California. Back in November 2008, Silas and Littleton had had several meetings with Mayhem, the production company behind The Game Plan, which starred Johnson, and Invincible, which starred Wahlberg. Originally, Mayhem executives told the pair they planned for Johnson and Wahlberg to star in Off Season and passed the script along to them. However, negotiations for the project fell through when Silas and Everette refused to sign an agreement that would have required them to remove their names from the “created by” credits.
The two women claim that the producers of the HBO series Ballers stole several key elements from their movie, from plot to characters, setting and mood.
Silas and Littleton also produced a trailer for Off Season in addition to the screenplay. They then created a side-by-side of scenes from the trailer and shots from the series, and listed a total of 27 instances in which they claim Ballers stole from their movie. One of these instances was a scene in which the main characters were attending the funeral of a high-profile football player.
However, proving similarities between the two works does not constitute enough material to legally establish copyright infringement.