Screenwriter R. Spencer Balentine is suing Fox, claiming that 2014’s Kingsman: The Secret Service is based on a story he wrote and not the comic book series by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Balentine is claiming that the first Kingsman film is based on his 2003 screenplay, The Keepers, a screenplay that he submitted to a screenwriting contest in 2004 where it was considered for adaptation as a comic book series by Dabel Brothers Productions. The claim states that the screenwriters of Kingsman: The Secret Service gained access to and used ideas from his story through a publishing and distribution agreement between Marvel and Dabel Brothers Productions.
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“The Film is purported to be based on a comic book series originally entitled The Secret Service, first published in 2012 by Icon Comics (a division of Marvel) and written by Mark Millar,” Balentine’s attorney Steven Lowe wrote in a complaint for damages. “However, several key aspects of the Film do not appear in The Secret Service comic that do appear in the Screenplay; for example, in the comic, there is no reference to Knights of the Round Table, no small dog companion to the protagonist, no use of holograms and the general theme of the comic is about public service rather than an individual overcoming humble origins to achieve greatness.”
Balentine is pursuing damages of at least $5 million.