UNDERWORLD filmmakers sued (Mania.com)

By:Patrick Sauriol
Date: Monday, September 08, 2003
Source: White Wolf Publishing

White Wolf Publishing Inc., the roleplaying game company behind VAMPIRE: THE MASQUERADE and WEREWOLF: THE APOCALYPSE, and horror novelist Nancy A. Collins have filed a lawsuit against Sony Pictures, Screen Gems and Lakeshore Entertainment alleging that the upcoming movie UNDERWORLD infringes on White Wolf and Collins' copyrights. The suit was filed September 5 in the District Court of Atlanta, Georgia.

The game company claims there are over 60 similarities shared between their two roleplaying games and the film's storyline. Furthermore, the lawsuit charges that the premise of UNDERWORLD borrows heavily from Collins' short story "Love of Monsters". "Apparently they are marketing this as a remake of ROMEO AND JULIET," says Collins in a statement released by White Wolf. "What I think they really mean is that it's an on-screen adaptation of my story."

White Wolf has been publishing role-playing games (RPGs) since 1991 and is probably best known for its VAMPIRE line of adventures, allowing players to act out fictional supernatural characters. One important ingredient in the VAMPIRE and WEREWOLF universes is that both races are at war with each other, a trait that is promoted in the trailers of UNDERWORLD.

"Ours is a huge fictional world, supported by over 200 volumes of fictional material," states Mike Tinney, President of White Wolf. "It's infuriating to see UNDERWORLD's script riddled with our property.

Tinney adds, "Our fans think they're going to be seeing our film. Of course, if the movie gets released, in a way they will be."

So far Sony Pictures, Screen Gems and Lakeshore Entertainment have not responded to White Wolf or Collins' lawsuit. UNDERWORLD is scheduled to open on September 19.

[Reports sent in from multiple readers.]

Got a scoop? Know something that you need to tell us about? Send it to us!