Sylvester Stallone’s ‘Expendables’ Launches Nasty Writers Battle

Wait’ll you see what Sly did. Naughty, naughty, dude.

But then , whaddaya expect from a teeny little guy like him who’s made his whole career about looking BIG?

expendablesby Eriq Gardner

SylvesterStallone experienced a Rocky Balboa-style comeback with The Expendables, his 2010 film about a team of mercenaries hired to eliminate a Latin American dictator. But even as the film grossed $274.5 million worldwide and spawned a sequel (with another on the way this summer), Stallone has been taking punches from writers who claim their work was stolen.

In an unusually contentious example of how murky authorship can be in Hollywood, Stallone, who is credited as the co-writer of Expendables, has gone to battle against one writer in arbitration and another in federal court. He’s been flagged by a judge for making two conflicting arguments. And lately, the situation has become so heated that an appeals court intervened and a new lawsuit was filed that threatens to undercut the traditional screenwriter credit process.

The story dates back to 2002, when writer DavidCallaham signed a two-picture agreement with Warner Bros. The first script was for a movie based on the video gameDoom, which Universal ended up releasing in 2005. The second was Barrow, which Callaham wrote after reading about the U.S. government’s hiring of Blackwater military contractors in Iraq. That script went unproduced until 2008, when Stallone — who had become interested in exploring the “mercenary theme,” according to court documents — was sent Barrow by his William Morris agent.

Soon after, Stallone got to work on Expendables, which triggered a claim by Callaham thatBarrow was being used without permission. A WGA arbitration commenced, and in 2009, Callaham prevailed and was given “co-writer” and “story by” credits and $102,250 in bonus payments.

This is just warming up. Read it all.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This just in today – February 3rd – from the Hollywood Reporter:

Sylvester Stallone and producers of the The Expendables have prevailed over a writer who claimed to have authored work that provided the basis for the 2010 film blockbuster.

On Monday, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of Marcus Webb‘s copyright lawsuit alleging Expendables came from his script titled The Cordoba Caper.

Back to you, Marcus.