It’s almost every day that someone files a plagiarism lawsuit against a high-profile film or filmmaker, way too many for me to cover them all, and they usually come to nothing. A town full of derivative ideas just naturally breeds that sort of thing. It’s like someone saying Jay Leno stole their joke — there’s a difference between “stolen” and “hacky.” But bear with me, this one’s more enjoyable than the usual frivolous-lawsuit-from-an-insane-person story.
Jamie Foxx and Tyler Perry are being sued for $1 million each by a prisoner — who claims the duo jacked his idea for a groan-worthy new comedy … starring Foxx, Perry, and Martin Lawrence … all dressed as women.
In case you haven’t heard … the project is called “Skank Robbers” — a wacky action comedy about two lady bank robbers … with Lawrence’s Sheneneh character from “Martin,” Foxx’s Wanda from “In Living Color,” and according to reports … Tyler Perry’s Madea … from every bad movie you’ve seen. The project is reportedly in development.
The project is in development, and I’ve covered it here before (its proposed August 2011 release date came and went, but according to the DailyMail, it had begun shooting), but this is the first I’ve ever heard of Tyler Perry being involved. I think the prisoner just made that part up. And here’s where it gets good…
Enter Shamont Lyle Sapp — who, coincidentally, says he’s serving time in Oklahoma for 10 bank robberies — he’s filed a lawsuit, claiming he gave Foxx and Perry the idea for the project … and they cut him out of the action.
According to the docs, Shamont had the idea to unite the three characters in one film — but his version wasn’t a comedy about bank robbers … it was a drama about a mental hospital.
The lawsuit encapsulates Sapp’s idea — “A male white mental patient takes Madea hostage … He deals with phone calls from the negotiators, as Madea actually pleads for her life in a very sad tear-jerking way … Her pleas are to be very sad. No jokes at all.” [TMZ]
“They stole my idea for Skank Robbers! Only my idea wasn’t a comedy about skank robbers at all, it was a very serious drama about an escaped mental patient who kills Madea while she pleads for her life!”
I think it goes without saying that I would much rather see this guy’s movie. I’d love to see a studio finance a whole series of prisoners’ elaborate kill fantasies. Idea for Troma, maybe.