People know Endeavor agent Tom Strickler has a deliciously arch sense of humor. People also know that Richard Saperstein used to work for Bob Shaye at New Line, and now toils for Harvey and Bob Weinstein as prez of production at Dimension. (What a masochist given those three bosses.) Anyway, Strickler and Saperstein, who are friends, recently had a minor verbal skirmish over a new spec script Endeavor sold to Saperstein’s old workplace New Line: it’s called The $40,000 Man about an astronaut in a car accident who gets bionically rebuilt by the government — but on a budget of only $40,000. Does the plot remind you of anything? It turns out Saperstein’s new workplace shares the remake rights to The Six Million Dollar Man. I have confirmed that the Weinstein exec sent this warning email to Strickler:
“Tom: Please give me a call about a spec script Elia Infascelli-Smith has gone out with called $40,000 Man. As you know, along with Universal, we control the rights to The Six Million Dollar Man. My understanding is this spec includes characters we own. Best, Richard”
And the agent messaged back this reply:
“Richard: Good news. As you may know, the United States Supreme Court has affirmed the right of parody as an unassailable First Amendment Right. This has enabled you to make movies like Scream and Scary Movie in which you parody many films which Dimension does not own or control. The script is a parody, and if you have any problems, I suggest you hire a constitutional lawyer and file a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court. This will be an uphill battle — the court voted 9 to 0 when this last hit the docket, and those stubborn justices all believe in Stare Decisis! And if you succeed at the Supreme Court, you will have to stop making Scream and Scary Movie. This will take about 5 to 7 years, and lawyers are an expensive breed, but I wish you good luck on your journey to deny our First Amendment rights. All the best, Tom”
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