Doing business comes with its costs among them lawsuits. Doing business in Holywood is no exception more so because people sometimes feel that their ideas were either stolen or used without permission. But one such case seemed to extrapolate the whole concept just recently. A man from Florida is suing for one percent royalties and $300 for the second-biggest box office hit of all time. He claims to have been the muse behind Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Jack Dawson.
Stephen Cummings, the ex-yacht master claims in court documents to have told the director of Titanic, James Cameron, the events that took place in the late 1980s in Brevard County. It is upon these word of mouth stories of his life that James Cameron allegedly based Jack Dawson’s character in Titanic, reports TMZ. The documents do not go into details as to how his life (Cummings’) is mirrored in the character.
You would think the madness ends there, but no. Stephen Cummings claims to have had relatives aboard the boat when it sank. He says that he would tell their story; the wife’s survival and the husband’s death. According to the lawsuit, it is not the historical event – the sinking Titanic- but the stories themselves that formed the basis of the events as they happened in the film.
Needless to say, few things can claim to be as weird as this lawsuit. “The Titanic” had been around for over 20 years which begs the question, why now? This, of course, could be for numerous reasons but perhaps the most likely one could be that Stephen Cummings only recently saw the movie, despite its popularity over the period, and realized how similar it was to the stories he told.
It is, however, impossible to know how much attention this suit warrants. There is still a probability that the story of the life of Jack Dawson as shown in the film bears a resemblance to the life of an actual person. Perhaps the difficulty will be in proving that the director of the film knew about this person’s life before or during his writing of the script.
Additionally, seeing as the sinking of the Titanic is a historic event, writers have more creative freedom where it is concerned. No one needs to be paid for rights to write a movie about history. This lawsuit is certainly almost, surely a losing battle, but one hopes that this was accounted for before it was filed.
We will, as usual, keep you upraised of any significant developments.