Why Did Harlan Ellison Decide to Drop His ‘In Time’ Lawsuit After Seeing the Movie?

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The Projector
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When the movie news slows down -- quick, someone give an award to something! -- that's when other aspects of the business start to grab our attention, like high-profile lawsuits. We've already talked today about Jesse Eisenberg's beef with his friends who made "Camp Hell," but now there's word that revered science-fiction writer Harlan Ellison has decided not to pursue a lawsuit against the makers of "In Time," the commercially and critically underwhelming Justin Timberlake film. But the reason for Ellison to drop the suit is delightfully intriguing: He finally saw the movie. What could that possibly mean?

The Hollywood Reporter said today that the 77-year-old sci-fi legend opted not to sue New Regency and "In Time" writer-director Andrew Niccol over claims that they plagiarized his short story "Repent, Harlequin! Said the Ticktockman," which told of a future society where people only have a certain amount of time to live. When Ellison withdrew the suit, his lawyer didn't comment on the reason why, but The Hollywood Reporter says, "according to a stipulation filed in court on Monday, the decision came after the plaintiff had a chance to see the film."

The knee-jerk reaction would be, "Oh, he must have hated the movie, so he decided a lawsuit wasn't worth it." But while that could be the case, it's also possible that maybe after seeing Niccol's film he decided it wasn't that similar to his original story. When the lawsuit first made the news in September, one of Ellison's contentions was that he was trying to make his own movie based on "Repent." Maybe after watching "In Time," he figures that could still happen.

Of course, Ellison suing someone in Hollywood is hardly new. Perhaps his most famous instance was going after James Cameron's "The Terminator," a case he won after arguing that the movie's time-travel plot ripped off his work. "In Time" won't be his latest target after all, but part of us loves the idea that maybe Ellison decided not to pursue his suit because after seeing the smoldering chemistry between Timberlake and Seyfried, he realized how insignificant his short story was in comparison. But that really would be pure science-fiction.

Harlan Ellison Drops Lawsuit Claiming 'In Time' Ripped Off His Story (Exclusive) [Hollywood, Esq./The Hollywood Reporter]