Graffiti artists sue Monty Python star over mural knockoff

Wed Aug 13, 2014 5:18pm EDT
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By Andrew Chung

(Reuters) - Casting him as a "repeat infringer," a group of street graffiti artists sued former Monty Python star Terry Gilliam and others, saying he ripped off their psychedelic wall mural in Buenos Aires for a new film he directed.

The artists accuse Gilliam and the film's production and release partners, including Voltage Pictures and Amplify, of "blatant misappropriation" of their mural in the movie, "The Zero Theorem."

The lawsuit, filed on Wednesday in federal court in Chicago, comes as the film is set for release in U.S. theaters next month.

The plaintiffs said that Gilliam has demonstrated a "repeated disregard" for copyright law.

The director and his production crew were sued in connection with a torture chair depicted in the 1995 film "12 Monkeys" that was "obviously based" on a drawing by artist Lebbeus Woods, according to the complaint. Woods eventually settled the case.

"Mr. Gilliam," the complaint added, "did not learn his lesson."

A spokeswoman for Voltage declined to comment on the case.

Gilliam could not immediately be reached for comment.   Continued...

Director Terry Gilliam poses during a photocall for his movie "The Zero Theorem" during the 70th Venice Film Festival in Venice September 2, 2013. 
REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi