14 April 2008

Rowling Sued...Again...This Time By The Director of "Troll"!

Now that J.K. Rowling has finally ended her Harry Potter series, someone's decided--after seven books and five film adaptations--that he's been ripped off! This time it's John Carl Buechler, a name that might be familiar to hopelessly devoted and forgiving genre fans (like me) as a former makeup FX artist-turned-director of straight-to-video potboilers. Buechler has launched a lawsuit against Rowling accusing her of plagiarizing his directorial effort, "Troll", and preventing him from helming a remake.

"Troll" in case you haven't seen it, is a 1986 shoestring fable produced by the notorious Charles Band, whose Full Moon Entertainment label cranked out programmers like "Demonic Toys" and the "Ghoulies" saga throughout the 80s and 90s.

It's likely best remembered as the one in which the snot-nosed titular character--in search of a magic ring--bewitches a San Francisco apartment building populated largely by TV has-beens like a pre-"Seinfeld" Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, her real-life hubby-and-former SNL writer/performer Brad Hall, ex-WKRPer Gary Sandy, former "Charlie's Angel" Shelly Hack, original "Battlestar Galactica" costar Anne Lockhart, and the one-and-only Sonny Bono. In the film's piece-de-resistence FX gag, Bono mutates into a swamp. Yes, a swamp...

True to fantasy form, there's a kid nobody listens to who befriends the creature. A kid (played by Noah Hathaway, Boxey on the original "Galactica") named after his father (played by another has-been, Michael Moriarity): Harry Potter. Yes, there are not one, but two characters in this otherwise forgettable film who share the name of kidlit's current reigning icon.

Buechler claims that because of the character names, he can't move forward with his plans to remake "Troll" (and now I figure, why the hell not, after the who-needs-it "Prom Night" remake just opened at Number One...). But Warner Bros. insists it owns the name outright, and that's what's holding up the Troll-Redux script.

Buechler also maintains that there are "a lot" of similiarities between the Potter books and his film, while the author denies ever having seen it (hell, even I'm hard-pressed to admit it!). His lawyer says his client was "shocked" when the books first came out, which has apparently taken eleven years to wear off so he could file his charges.

Of course, Rowling has been accused of plagiarism before, most famously in 2002 by an American writer who lost her claim that Rowling stole elements from her novel.

Funny, though, how it's only the insanely successful artists who are ever sued for copyright violation--no one's going to convince me that bombs like "Far And Away" and "Megaforce" are among the only 100% original ideas ever generated in Hollywood...

Read more about it here at Australia's Courier Mail.