The author of The Reader is attempting to sue the studios who turned it into the Oscar-winning Hollywood film over claims he has not received a penny from them.
Bernhard Schlink’s 1995 novel was adapted into the 2008 film starring Kate Winslet, who won an Oscar for Best Actress. However, three years on, and the German writer claims to have not received any payments from the Weinstein Company.
This week, Schlink filed a suit at the Los Angeles superior court stating he was in violation of his legal rights. The law suit alleges, ‘The statement is false in that it greatly understates the receipts, overstates the costs and expenses, and does not correctly follow the terms of their deal with Miramax’. However, the Weinstein Company were unavailable for comment at the time.
According to the Hollywood reporter, Bernhard Schlink believes he is owed around $1m. He claims to have signed a contract with the Weinstein Company – co-owned by brothers Harvey and Bob Weinstein – back in 1998. The contract is thought to have stated that Schink is entitled to between 2.5% and 5% of the movie’s gross receipts.
The book was translated into English and soon became The New York Times’ best selling German book, while the Hollywood film gained critical acclaim and topped the $100m mark at the global box office.
The Reader – German title Der Vorleser – also starred Ralph Fiennes and David Kross. The book explored the difficulties which the postwar generation had to deal with after the Holocaust. Winslet plays a middle aged woman in the 1950s who has an affair with a 15-year-old boy and later faces prison.
The Weinstein Company have had their fair share of law suits over the years. They were sued for $50m after claims the studio supposedly sabotaged the delayed animated comedy, Escape from Planet Earth. The studio were accused of ‘contempt for contractual obligations’. In addition. a further $2.7m in profits were supposedly not received by documentary film-maker Michael Moore for Fahrenheit 911. Moore claimed he was owed but never received.
However, the company’s lawyer, stated last year ‘Mr Moore has received a huge amount of money from this film and we believe he is overreaching. He should be ashamed of himself.’
We will keep you posted on the latest updates.