LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A critically-acclaimed film up for over a dozen Academy Awards is being called a work a plagiarism by the son of a late Pulitzer-winning playwright whose work he said the filmmakers ripped off.

David Zindel, son of playwright Paul Zindel, filed a lawsuit for copyright infringement against the studio behind of the Oscar-nominated movie “The Shape of Water” and the film’s director Guillermo del Toro.

Zindel said the film “brazenly copies” his father’s story “Let Me Hear You Whisper,” City News Service reported. The lawsuit called the movie “substantially similar, and in many ways identical” to Paul Zindel’s play, which does involve a female custodian developing a relationship with a “fantastic, intelligent aquatic creature held captive in a glass tank.”

The story was adapted for two made-for-TV movies, one of which involves the janitor talking to a dolphin in a lab tank.

For its part, studio Fox Searchlight called the lawsuit “baseless” and “wholly without merit,” saying the studio “will be filing a motion to dismiss,” according to CNS.

“The Shape of Water” is nominated for 13 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director for Guillermo del Toro and Best Original Screenplay.


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