A couple of screenwriters have launched a lawsuit against Pure Flix, the Christian-based movie studio known for producing the hit “God’s Not Dead,” alleging the company stole “creative elements” of their own play and used them as the basis for the 2014 film.
Kelly Kullberg and Michael Landon Jr. said in a lawsuit filed in federal court in California that their “Rise” screenplay, which hasn’t yet been made into a movie, was actually the source of “the most creative elements” of “God’s Not Dead,” and that the 2014 release of that movie “destroyed [their] prospects for producing a motion picture based on their ‘Rise’ screenplay,” Law Newz reported.
Kullberg helped write the book, “Finding God at Harvard,” and also founded the Veritas Forum, a global nonprofit that assists with the production of college-campus events aimed at fostering discussion of moral and philosophical questions, from a Christian viewpoint. The court complaint alleges “Rise” was “borrowed from [her own] experiences as a Christian standing up for her faith.”
“God’s Not Dead” starred Kevin Sorbo as a college professor who’s atheism forces him into a conflict with a Christian student. Sorbo’s character ultimately requires the student to prove the existence of God over the course of three debates, else face a failing grade.
Kullberg and Landon allege they shared “Rise” with Ted Baehr, the chairman of the Christian Film and Television Commission and that Baehr in turn shared specific plots with Pure Flix co-founder David White, who’s named as a defendant in the suit.
According to the complaint, the suspiciously similar plot elements include this, Law Newz reported: “A young college student who has to debate a popular and charming atheist professor over the course of three debates, who struggles in the first debate, but succeeds in the next two after support and encouragement from characters including an unmarried local pastor, a rural married couple, the atheist professor’s wife who is also the professor’s former student (a lapsed Christian doing her own soul-searching) and an international student ally, and manages to persuade many others, including the professor, that God does exist.”