The lawsuit alleges the idea for Stranger Things derives from Kessler's own short film "Montauk", which was produced in 2011 and led Kessler to writing the screenplay for the as yet unproduced feature film version of the concept, The Montauk Project.
The creators behind the hit Netflix series "Stranger Things" are being sued for allegedly stealing concepts for their show.
Kessler's original Montauk outline has several story beats that echo Stranger Things: A young boy who disappears, a cop with a haunted past vows to find him, there's mysterious conspiracy at a nearby military base that's conducting secret experiments on children, and a monster that's created by a portal to another dimension that resembles the child's toy. The film premiered in 2012 and won an award at the Hamptons International Film Festival. Two years later, he met the Duffers at the Tribeca Film Festival and pitched The Montauk Project, a series that would expand on the short (both are based on an actual conspiracy theory about psychological experiments based near the NY town). According to Entertainment Weekly, filmmaker Charlie Kessler claims to have shared a series idea with Matt and Ross Duffer which they then sold to Netflix. Some of the "Stranger Things" cast have alluded to the connection, saying in a Wired interview that the show was based on stories about Camp Hero.
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The Duffer brothers have said publicly that originally "Stranger Things" was set in Montauk, New York, and that "Montauk" was the show's original title. The series resembles an alleged real-life government experiment known as "The Montauk Project" (on which Kessler's film is also based).
Netflix declined to comment on the complaint, which is posted below.