'Gravity' author Tess Gerritsen sues Warner Bros.

Gerritsen is suing Warner Bros. for breach of contract, saying she was denied a credit for the film based on her book.

Warner Bros. Pictures/AP
'Gravity' stars Sandra Bullock (l.) and George Clooney (r.).

Author Tess Gerritsen, who is the writer behind the novel about astronauts titled “Gravity,” is suing Warner Bros., claiming she was not properly credited for the fact that the Oscar-nominated film is based on her book.

The book by Gerritsen, which was first released in 1999, follows a NASA doctor named – oddly enough – Emma Watson, who is on board a space station when organisms begin infecting the crew around her. As she works to stop the organisms, her husband works with NASA to try to get her back to her home planet.

The film “Gravity,” meanwhile, follows a medical engineer named Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), who becomes stranded in space with an astronaut, Matt Kowalski (George Clooney), after debris damages their space shuttle.  

According to the New York Times, Warner Bros. bought the movie rights to Gerritsen’s novel in 1999. The author is accusing the studio of breach of contract, saying that she was denied millions of dollars because “Gravity” was released without an accompanying credit stating that the movie was “based upon” her book. Gerritsen says the purchase agreement signed when Warner Bros. bought the rights included an assurance that if a movie were made based on her book, she would receive credit and additional revenue and benefits.

Gerritsen believed any effort to make a movie from her book had ended in 2002, according to the NYT, and Gerritsen’s lawyer, Glen L. Kulik, told the NYT that the author at first thought the similarities between her book and the film was “one of those strange coincidences, however improbable.”

In addition, Gerritsen told a fan in October, “The movie is not based on my book, despite the similarities.” But according to press reports, in more recent months Gerritsen says she received information that the movie was based on her book.

“Gravity” was critically acclaimed and became a box office phenomenon when it was released this past fall, topping the box office for multiple weeks. It was considered a frontrunner for Best Picture during the past Oscar season and secured “Gravity” helmer Alfonso Cuaron a Best Director statuette, while Bullock was nominated for Best Actress.

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