In what could be a major blow to filmmaker Charlie Kessler's complaint against Matt and Ross Duffer (The Duffer Brothers) over creative credit for Netflix's hugely popular sci-fi series Stranger Things, TMZ has reportedly obtained emails that prove The Duffer Brothers were developing a "Montauk" series as early as November 2010 — three and a half years before Kessler claims to have pitched the idea behind his short film The Montauk Project to them.
In their report, TMZ claims to have had access to the following documents:
● Two emails from November 2010, where The Duffer Brothers begin mapping out their vision for a "real," "paranormal" "gritty eighties" show; with one email specifically setting the show in Montauk and referencing "the Montauk experiments."
● A Google document from October 4th, 2013, that brings together the premise for Stranger Things: "Benny (Will in the show) leaves his friend Elliot's house, a bunch of kids are there, eating pizza, dungeons and dragons … Benny leaves on bike, hears voices, goes into strange world, taken by some evil force."
● Two emails — one from February 27th, 2014 and another from April 4th, 2014 – that continue to lay out the vision for the show, before the alleged meeting between The Duffer Brothers and Kessler. The pair see the show "…set in 1980s Long Island" with "a vintage Stephen King feel;" with the April 4th email referencing a location scout in Montauk.
In a statement to TMZ, the Duffer Brothers' attorney Alex Kohner believes these documents will settle the complaint favorably for his clients:
"These documents prove that Mr. Kessler had absolutely nothing to do with the creation of 'Stranger Things.' The Duffer Brothers were developing their project years before he claims to have met them."
Original Report: Following up on yesterday's reporting that Stranger Things creators The Duffer Brothers (Matt and Ross Duffer) were being sued by filmmaker Charlie Kessler for allegedly stealing the concept for the series from his 2012 short film, the Duffer Brothers have responded to the complaint through their attorney, Alex Kohner:
"Mr. Kessler's claim is completely meritless. He had no connection to the creation or development of Stranger Things. The Duffer Brothers have neither seen Mr. Kessler's short film nor discussed any project with him. This is just an attempt to profit from other people's creativity and hard work."
Kessler claims he was "shocked" when Stranger Things premiered in 2016 and he saw the similarities to his work. The filmmaker is looking for financial restitution and the destruction of all materials allegedly based off his concepts.
You can read a copy of the complaint here:
Production on Stranger Things season 3 (Stranger Things 3?) is expected to begin production this month, with the eight-episode season moving the show's timeline ahead a year and introducing new "big bads" for our heroes to confront. Priah Ferguson's Erica Sinclair — Lucas's (Caleb McLaughlin) little sister — has been promoted to series regular, and Maya Hawke (Little Women) has joined as a new still-unknown series regular.
Netflix's Stranger Things stars Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Noah Schnapp, Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton and McLaughlin.