Last week, filmmaker Charlie Kessler filed a lawsuit alleging that The Duffer Brothers stole the basis for their Netflix phenomenon ‘Stranger Things’ from him and that the series was based on a short film he created called ‘Montauk’ in 2012. It appears that ‘Stranger Things’ was, in fact, at one point named ‘Montauk’ during the show’s development. But the investigators at TMZ have uncovered emails that show that The Duffer Brothers were developing their ‘Montauk’ project years before Kessler claims he met them.
First, there are two emails from 2010 in which Matt and Ross discuss their “real,” “paranormal” “gritty eighties” series, which at the time was intended to be set in Montauk, Long Island, New York– which according to urban legend is the real-life site where the government performed paranormal experiments in the 1970s. The emails include a reference to “the Montauk experiments.” Then there is a Google document dated October 4, 2013, in which the premise of what would become ‘Stranger Things’ is detailed:
“Benny (renamed Will for 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 additional emails from February 27, 2014, and April 4 further develop their ‘Montauk’ concept and mention the intention of setting the show “in 1980s Long Island” and even mention a location scout exploring that area. They also describe their intention of channeling “a vintage Stephen King feel.”
A lawyer for The Duffer Brothers stated:
“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.”
If you are curious, here is a clip from Kessler’s ‘Montauk’, if you’d like to compare it to the finished product of ‘Stranger Things’:
A third series of ‘Stranger Things’ is expected to arrive in 2019.
Do you think that Kessler’s ‘Montauk’ had any influence on ‘Stranger Things’? Or is the lawsuit without merit?