Man accuses 'Stranger Things' creators of stealing his ideas

Posted Wednesday, April 4, 2018 by RODNEY HO/ on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

A director of a 2012 short film filed a lawsuit this week accusing "Stranger Things" creators the Duffer brothers of pilfering his ideas.

According to,  Charlie Kessler, who directed the short film "Montauk," claims in the lawsuit (read it here) in Los Angeles Superior Court that he pitched ideas to Matt and Ross Duffer that were later used to develop the Netflix series, currently about to go into production for season three in metro Atlanta. He said he received no credit.

Indeed, the show was supposed to be set in the town of Montauk on Long Island and its early title was "Montauk" but the show was later moved to a fictional Indiana city Hawkins.

Kessler's film featured a missing boy, a local military base conducting experiments on children and a monster from another dimension. That is not far off from the original concept of "Stranger Things." There is also a 1992 book by Peter Moon called "The Montauk Project: Experiments in Time" about a a building in Montauk where the government allegedly held secret experiments.

Kessler is suing for breach of implied contract and is seeking monetary damages and a jury trial.

“Mr. Kessler’s claim is completely meritless,” said Alex Kohner, attorney for the Duffers, told Deadline. “He had no connection to the creation or development of ‘Stranger Things.’ The Duffer Brothers have neither seen Mr. Kessler’s short film nor discussed any project with him. This is just an attempt to profit from other people’s creativity and hard work.”

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Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
I cover local radio and TV for both the print and online editions. I write a blog on the same topics.Rodney Ho's Radio & TV Talk blog (new) | Recent archiveSports...