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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

In dramatic third-act twist, screenwriter accuses Gillian Flynn of stealing her idea for Gone Girl

Photo: 20th Century Fox
Photo: 20th Century Fox

While you’d be forgiven for thinking that the story of a betrayed woman getting elaborate revenge on her cheating husband is a pretty common trope, some stories are more similar than others. And some, as though we needed reminding, can spur lawsuits.


TMZ reports that a writer named Leslie Heller is suing author Gillian Flynn, claiming she ripped off Heller’s screenplay and based her novel Gone Girl on it. And in case anyone thought it would stop there, Heller is also suing director David Fincher, who helmed the 2014 film adaptation, as well as Reese Witherspoon, who produced the movie. Her claim is that she turned in a screenplay in 2005 to a script consultant, and that her work was then stolen for Flynn’s 2012 novel, which then served as the basis for the film.

The accusations are fairly broad, and revolve around some key story elements: “They both focus on a married couple’s relationship where the husband and wife are slowly drifting apart. They both contain a key twist where the wife is not the nice, normal, and somewhat naive housewife [she appears to be] and is in fact a psychopath who sets up her husband.” There’s also apparently a scene with a hammer in both works, though she has not, as of this time, also filed a lawsuit against that one painful scene from Misery.

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