The Duffer brothers – the two minds behind the deeply-popular Stranger Things series – are being sued for allegedly nicking the idea for the show from a pitch made to them at a party in 2014.
Charlie Kessler spent time chatting with Matt and Ross Duffer at a party during the Tribeca Film Festival. Kessler pitched his idea of a show called The Montauk Project, which follows the idea that the city of Montauk is home to a range of “urban legends, and paranormal and conspiracy theories.”
Kessler is suing the Duffer brothers for a breach of implied contract, a kind of implied-in-fact contract that is an industry norm in the US. It means that they had a mutual understanding that they “would not disclose, use/exploit the Concepts (The Montauk Project) without the Plaintiff’s (Kessler’s) permission and/or without compensating the Plaintiff.”
As the Duffer brothers have made an absolute motza on Stranger Things since the series premiered on Netflix in 2016 – to the point where the young cast’s salary has skyrocketed to 12 times the original amount – Kessler’s lawsuit demands that the Duffer brothers cease all use of his concepts, and destroy all materials that further use his concepts and ideas. Kessler has also demanded for a jury trial to settle the lawsuit, and has requested the Duffer brothers pay him for damages and lost profits.
The vague plot of Kessler’s concept is in the filed lawsuit as ‘Exhibit A’ at page 10, which you can comb through below. From what can be seen, Kessler’s character ‘Michael’ bears some resemblance to Eleven, with the ability to move objects and control things with his mind/telekinesis powers.