Mark Vanden Berge is suing Paul Schrader over breach of confidence and breach of an implied contract. As a student pitching his screenplay to Schrader, Berge claims that Schrader stole his for his film “The Card Counter” from his project “Blown Odds.” Both movies are about a gambler’s search for redemption. Mark can not claim copyright infringement because he did not register his idea. Schrader has stated that he does not remember Berge. Schrader’s attorney, Philip Kessler, also told the publication that the allegation is false.

“There’s no merit to the allegations that Paul Schrader engaged in plagiarism, nor would he ever do so — nor would he ever need to do so,” Kessler told the publication. “This is one of the most talented directors in the United States.”
“I think there’s an amazing similarity, and it’s the essence of the treatment that has been violated,” Rynders, Mark Vanden Berhe’s lawyer, wrote.

The suit argues that both projects involve passive anger, violence, and retribution themes. In each project, the protagonist is a poker player who encounters another man who is bent on revenge. “Each friend of the protagonist is catalyzed into a dark denouement through encounters with the protagonist’s moral agency versus forces of his anarchy,” the suit alleges.

 

– Excerpt from an article for Variety by Gene Maddus. Read the full article here.

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