By Michael Praats | December 29, 2020 at 10:44 AM EST – Updated December 29 at 1:03 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – The Neflix series Outer Banks was wildly popular when it debuted in April of 2020, however, one North Carolina author is claiming that the story the show is based on was taken from his book – and suspects it happened right here in Wilmington.
Kevin Wooten is the author of the book Pennywise: The Hunt for Blackbeard’s Treasure!, which was published in 2016. Copies of the book were sold in Wilmington and according to the lawsuit, that is where Wooten suspects the show’s creators got the idea for the show.
The TV show, according to the lawsuit, is ‘strikingly similar’ to Wooten’s book including ‘plot, locations, protagonists, antagonists, and scenes.’
“The Series is also about a group of young adults overcoming dangerous and challenging obstacles while following clues to a hidden treasure recovered from a fabled shipwreck,” according to the lawsuit.
But that’s not all, similarities are frequent and are deeper than just a basic plot, according to the lawsuit.
“In particular, both the Novel and the Series share the following similarities: (1) both take place in the outer banks of North Carolina; (2) both consist of a group of four protagonists where two characters have similar upbringings and absent parents, the third character is studious and throws away his chance at academia, and the fourth character is fiercely protective of the group; (3) both include antagonists consisting of a rich benefactor and a corrupt member of law enforcement; (4) both groups of protagonists discover similar rounds [sic] objects at the bottom of the ocean, which leads them to more clues including old portraits, churches, mausoleums, and eventually the treasure in a recess of a shaft; and (5) both groups of protagonists leave the treasure behind only to have it stolen by the antagonists,” the lawsuit reads.
“Of course, we wanted to shoot it in Wilmington,” Jonas Pate said in a previous interview. “We wrote it with a lot of Wilmington locations in mind. You’ll hear your Masonboro get mentioned and other Wilmington locations. But we weren’t allowed to shoot here because of some residual effects of HB2, which thankfully are going off the books. So, we shot it in Charleston but we wanted to bring more projects to North Carolina. That’s why we moved back here and the community here has been really supportive. Senator Harper Peterson is working hard to get film going in the state legislature so I’m pretty confident it’s going to come back. It’s just a short-term problem.”
According to the lawsuit, the creators actually admitted in an interview that their story was inspired by third-party novels.
“The co-creators of the Series, Defendants Mr. Burke, Mr. Jonas Pate, and Mr. Josh Pate, told Star News Online in an interview that they were inspired to write the Series based on inspiration from third-party adventure novels. A true and accurate copy of the Star News Online article is attached as Exhibit B. 19. Furthermore, Mr. Jonas Pate and Mr. Josh Pate also stated in that interview that they were inspired to write the Series by their time spent in Wilmington, North Carolina, the same city in which Mr. Wooten sold physical copies of the Novel,” according to the suit.
Wooten is seeking damages including profits for violating the Copyright Act of 1976, attorney’s fees, royalties, and a ‘single-card’ credit at the end of each episode that reads: “Story by Kevin Wooten, based upon the novel Pennywise: The Hunt for Blackbeard’s Treasure!”
Wooten is demanding a jury trial in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia and has named all three creators, as well as Netflix as defendants.
WECT has reached out to Jonas and Josh Pate as well as Wooten for comment, at the time of publication nobody had been reached. This story will be updated if statements are provided.
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