As according to Kessler's attorney, who filed the lawsuit to the Supreme Court of California, Kessler is claiming that the Duffer Brothers breached an "implied contract" after his client pitched the concept of a science fiction film set in a small town near an abandoned military base at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival. Montauk opens with the disappearance of a young boy á la Will Byers, and while the short film doesn't have much in common with Stranger Things beyond that (and an element of the supernatural), the series pitch could have.
Charlie Kessler claims in a new lawsuit, he produced a short film called "Montauk", which premiered in 2012 and even won an award at the Hamptons International Film Festival.
A representative for the Duffer brothers did not immediately return CNN's request for comment. The series resembles an alleged real-life government experiment known as "The Montauk Project" (on which Kessler's film is also based).
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TMZ reports that "the idea seemed to die right there" and that Kessler was then "shocked" when Stranger Things eventually came out, claiming that the two works share a common plot involving top secret government experiments.
While his original story concept definitely sounds similar to the Netflix hit series, it's also worth noting that the original working title of Stranger Things was actually Montauk. When Netflix acquired a project from the Duffers in 2015, it was called Montauk.
Kessler is seeking an injunction that would force the Duffers to stop using his alleged concepts and to destroy all materials based on those concepts.