`They stole our chicks': 3 Conn. men claim Wayanses took script
By David Weber
Boston Herald Sunday, June 27, 2004
Three Connecticut men have sued Hollywood's Wayans brothers for at least $15 million, claiming their new movie, ``White Chicks,'' is a rip-off of a screenplay the trio wrote and submitted to the actors' agents twice in the last five years.
``I've never seen a case as provable as this one,'' said Boston-based lawyer Jerrold Neeff, who filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport, Conn., on behalf of Jon and Jason Coppola and Mario Pittore.
The three men claim their concept for a movie titled ``Johnny Bronx'' is eerily similar to ``White Chicks.''
In ``Johnny Bronx,'' a bumbling black FBI agent uses medical technology to become white and infiltrate the Mafia.
In ``White Chicks,'' Shawn and Marlon Wayans are two bumbling black FBI agents who disguise themselves as white women through modern technology and serve as undercover agents guarding a pair of hotel heiresses known as the Wilton sisters.
Jon Coppola said he and his partners, who write under the business name of A Slice of Pie Productions, had raised $15 million themselves, and a ``well-known sports figure'' had promised to match them with another $15 million.
``He loves `Johnny Bronx' to this day. But in May, he saw the trailers for `White Chicks' and he pretty much bowed out because he said it was exactly like `Johnny Bronx,' '' Coppola said about the sports star.
``We knew we had been robbed. Our work had been stolen. And it caused a domino effect with our investors and the sports figure,'' he said.
Aside from the closely related premises, the Connecticut men said ``White Chicks'' contains a number of scenes that are similar to scenes in their screenplay.
The lawsuit names as defendants Wayans Brothers Entertainment, Revolution Studios, Sony Pictures Entertainment, the Gold/Miller Agency and Gersh Agency.
Revolution Studios spokeswoman Terry Curtin said her company would not comment on pending litigation. Representatives from the other defendants also declined to comment.
The three Connecticut men had one screenplay made into a movie called ```The Contract,'' starring Louise Fletcher and Jeff Fahey. The movie did not do well in the United States, but was received positively overseas, Coppola said.
``This was going to be our big break,'' he said about ```Johnny Bronx.''