Universal rejected the copyright infringement lawsuit MGM filed over its “Section 6” movie, insisting in a new legal filing that it is not close to making the movie MGM dubbed a James Bond rip-off.
“Universal expressly advised MGM that it is substantially changing that screenplay to remove any material that might arguably be infringing,” Universal said in the papers, filed Friday. “That process is ongoing and a revised script will not be finished for several months. The picture in question has not been “green lit,” i.e., no decision has yet been made whether actually to produce it.”
MGM and Danjaq sued Universal earlier this month, accusing the studio of stealing characters, phrases and themes from its James Bond movie franchise with “Section 6,” a script Universal bought last year.
The historical spy thriller chronicles the formation of British intelligence agency MI6 around the time of World War I – before any of the Bond movies took place. It also examines its first director, George Mansfield Cummings, the inspiration for M in the “James Bond” series.
When MGM and Danjaq first expressed concerns about the project’s similarity to its own lucrative franchise, Universal assured them it would make substantial changes to the script. The studio has since hired Joe Cornish to direct and Jack O’Connell to star in the project, signs that Universal is serious about making it. Movies can languish in development for years, but studios tend to move quickly after they past more than $1 million just for the rights to a spec script.
Yet, in the filings Friday, Universal continues to insist that it is “in the early stages of development” and that it will not receive a rewrite of Aaron Berg‘s script for “two to three months.”
As such, Universal wants the judge to stop MGM’s efforts to force Universal to hand over documents.