U.S. District Judge Margaret Morrow, who yesterday ruled in favor of director James Cameron in a lawsuit that alleged he stole the idea for his record-breaking blockbuster, “Avatar,” from plaintiff Gerald Morawski, revealed she came to her verdict after Cameron’s attorneys proved that the director actually stole the plot from Kevin Costner’s Oscar-winning film, “Dances with Wolves.”
“After seeing the evidence, I realized this lawsuit had no merit and that James Cameron is really just a lazy screenwriter,” Judge Morrow told Hollywood & Swine. “Someone needs to show ‘Avatar’ to Kevin Costner, because I think he may have a really good lawsuit.”
Cameron’s defense team played “Dances with Wolves” in court for Judge Morrow and then played “Avatar” to show the striking plot similarities the two films shared. Cameron’s defense team also presented a Blockbuster video receipt from March 2nd 1991, the night Cameron first rented “Dances with Wolves.” Cameron’s ex-wife, “Zero Dark Thirty” director Kathryn Bigelow, who was still married to Cameron at the time, was brought in to testify.
“An hour after we watched ‘Dances with Wolves,’ James told me this great idea he just came up with which turned out to be ‘Avatar,’ ” Bigelow said during her testimony. “I assumed he was joking since he was pitching ‘Dances with Wolves’ with giant blue aliens. He didn’t appreciate me laughing at him and after that our marriage never recovered.”
Legal experts point out that Cameron’s defense team’s strategy is eerily similar to one used in a lawsuit last year by filmmaker Ed Zwick who was sued for stealing the idea of his Tom Cruise blockbuster, “The Last Samurai,” from two screenwriters. Zwick’s attorneys won the lawsuit after they proved that like Cameron, Zwick also stole his film’s plot from “Dances with Wolves.”