10/31/2012 12:39 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

William Faulkner's Estate Sues Over Woody Allen Film

By Julie Miller, Vanity Fair


Nearly a year and a half after the release of Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, the estate of William Faulkner -- who perhaps just got around to the Oscar-winning film on its Netflix queue -- is suing Sony over a line in the movie that was taken from the author's 1950 book, Requiem for a Nun. In Midnight in Paris, Owen Wilson plays a present-day Hollywood screenwriter visiting Paris, who is transported to the roaring 1920s at night. There he mingles with some of the period's great American authors, including Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, and artists. At one point, Wilson's character quotes Faulkner, attributing the line to the Nobel Prize laureate: "The past is not dead. Actually, it's not even past. You know who said that? Faulkner. And he was right. And I met him, too. I ran into him at a dinner party."

Faulkner's estate alleges that Sony did not have the "consent to appropriate William Faulkner's name or his works for Sony's advantage" and that the studio's "actions in distributing the Infringing Film were malicious, fraudulent, deliberate and/or willful." The six-page lawsuit, filed in the author's home state of Mississippi, argues that the estate is entitled to compensatory and punitive damages and attorney fees.

Midnight in Paris is Woody Allen's highest-grossing film, with box-office returns of $151 million worldwide.

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