The writer behind the source material for Mean Girls is considering taking legal action against Tina Fey and Paramount over what it calls “unpaid fees” for the franchise’s continued success.
Rosalind Wiseman — author of Queen Bees and Wannabes, the basis for the 2004 cult classic teen comedy — signed a deal to sell its film rights in 2002 for $400,000. Although she relinquished all rights to original films and derivative works, including musicals and TV shows, Wiseman’s contract included net earnings, residual earnings dependent on how the film does at the box office. However, she claims her studio insisted it made no net profit, racking up so many extra costs that it has no revenue to share with her.
Wiseman isn’t convinced and is asking for more compensation, as her work “changed our culture and changed the zeitgeist,” she told the new york post in an article published on Saturday. “Yes, I had a terrible contract, but the movie made a lot of money and they keep recycling my work over and over again, so they don’t even consider me.”
She said “the hypocrisy is too much”, adding: “Over the years, Tina has spoken so eloquently about women supporting other women, but it is becoming increasingly clear to me that, in my own personal experience, this will not be the case. the experience”.
CBS via Getty Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Seyfried, Lacey Chabert and Rachel McAdams in ‘Mean Girls’
She chose Fey over several other film offers because “it was a ‘we’re doing this together’ experience”, said Wiseman.
Representatives for Fey and Paramount did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment.
Starring Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Amanda Seyfried and Lacey Chabert, Mean Girls was a box-office success and grossed $130 million worldwide, later spawning a Broadway musical in 2017. Wiseman stated that a theater producer approached her decades ago about adapting her book into a musical, but Paramount and Fey denied her request and prevented her from being paid, citing proprietary rights.
“The hard part is they used my name on Playbill,” Wiseman said. “And Tina, in her interviews, said that I was the inspiration and the source, but there was no payment.”
Everett Collection Tim Meadows and Tina Fey in ‘Mean Girls’
Wiseman’s lawyers want to audit Paramount’s books over its claims of no net income. “I suspect most people would be shocked by Rosalind Wiseman’s mean treatment,” her attorney Ryan Keech told the paper. Publish. “It is nothing short of disgraceful for a company with Paramount’s resources to go to such lengths to deny Ms. Wiseman what she is entitled to for having created what has become one of the most iconic entertainment franchises in history over the past 25 years.”
“My client is reviewing all of her options, including litigation,” Reech told EW when asked for further comment Sunday.
Fey and the Broadway show’s producers have announced a film adaptation of the musical in 2020. She and Tim Meadows are set to reprise their roles. Wiseman said Fey hasn’t contacted her about the project.
“For a number of reasons, I haven’t performed for a while, and one of the reasons [is] because I was so focused on not complaining or trying to tear Tina down,” she said. However, she added, “I’m a strong believer that when you’re in a position of power and privilege, you have a responsibility to share that to create equality.” “
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