Filmmaker Charlie Kessler is suing the brothers, claiming the show has close similarities to a short film he made in in 2012 called “Montauk,” about top-secret government experiments. The lawsuit, filed this week in Los Angeles, says Kessler pitched the Duffers a series based on the short film in 2014, but never heard back.
“Stranger Things” was originally sold to Netflix in 2015 under the title “Montauk.” That’s ... strange, right?
But actually, the Duffer brothers were working on the “Stranger Things” series as far back as late 2010, according to TMZ. Emails from that time period use phrases like “paranormal” and “gritty eighties,” and explicitly state the show is set in Montauk, a village on New York’s Long Island.
An accompanying Google document from 2013 reportedly describes the opening scene nearly beat for beat with how the Netflix version began: A group of kids are playing Dungeons and Dragons at one of their houses, one kid leaves on his bike, and is kidnapped into a “strange world.”
“These documents prove that Mr. Kessler had absolutely nothing to do with the creation of ‘Stranger Things,‘” the Duffer brothers’ lawyer said.
The creation is an undeniable hit. According to Nielsen, the second season’s first episode was watched by 15.8 million people in its first three days.
Season 3 of “Stranger Things” is scheduled to start production sometime in April, but new episodes are not expected until 2019.