files/pictures/picture-35.jpgJames Cameron and his Lightstorm Ent. have been sued by a former employee, who claims that he developed the idea for AVATAR and has been not given credit or payment, writes The Hollywood Reporter
. In the suit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Eric Ryder alleges that for two years back in 1999, when he worked for Lightstorm, he had developed a story, treatments, photos, 3D imagery and characters for a story called K.R.Z. 2068, which was an "environmentally-themed 3-D epic about a corporation's colonization and plundering of a distant moon's lush and wondrous natural setting." In the story a spy infiltrates the anthropomorphic aliens' ranks and ends up helping the natives stop the mining operations.
Ryder says he had an implied agreement with the studio that he would be compensated and credited if the project was made. However, in 2002, Lightstorm informed him that the film was dead because no one wanted to make such a large scale environmentally-themed production. AVATAR was released in 2009 and went on to gross $2.8 billion worldwide.
This isn't the first time that Cameron and company have been sued for stealing the idea for the highest grossing film of all time, but it is the first suit brought by a former employee. Ryder acknowledges in the suit that Cameron did devise the idea for AVATAR before he started work on K.R.Z. The complaint claims breach of implied contract, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, intentional interference with prospective economic advantage and negligent interference with prospective advantage.