the take

Former Bush Aide Proves in Lawsuit That Almost None of ‘Swing Vote’ Was His Idea

Photo: AP, Courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

George W. Bush’s former calendar keeper Bradley Blakeman has filed suit against everyone who’s ever made a movie — specifically Kevin Costner, the Walt Disney Co., Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group Inc., Touchstone Pictures, some screenwriters, and Kelsey Grammer — alleging that election comedy Swing Vote is stolen from his original screenplay, Go November. The complaint, filed in a Long Island court, claims that Blakeman gave Go November to Grammer in 2006, and that Grammer agreed to play a Republican president in his project but instead played one in Swing Vote.

The lawsuit would have a little more credence if, say, everything about it wasn’t totally laughable.

Blakeman claims that Disney stole elements of his movie’s marketing plan, such as the timing of the film’s release. It’s true that without Blakeman’s help, Disney would have had no idea that they should release this film about a presidential election right before a presidential election. (We wonder if Blakeman’s screenplay was an August Movie, too.) Other not-exactly-unique ideas from Go November that also appear in Swing Vote include “the use of real-life newscasters as actors playing themselves” and “the use of dirty tricks by both major political parties.”

Hilariously, Swing Vote’s only actual idea — that a single dude winds up deciding the election — does not appear in Go November, which instead focuses on a bunch of swing voters. (And it’s already been established that Swing Vote’s actual idea did appear in 1939’s The Great Man Votes.) But don’t tell that to Blakeman! His lawsuit contains a great make-lemonade-from-lemons sentence when it concludes, “Essentially, except for the character names and the relationship developed between the main characters played by defendant Kevin Costner and his daughter” — oh, and the entire concept of Swing Vote — “the entire concept of Swing Vote … was taken from the copyrighted work.”

Basically, Disney seems guilty of nothing other than producing an election comedy featuring Kelsey Grammer — a grievous crime, to be sure, but not copyright infringement.

Ex - Bush aide claims `Swing Vote’ stolen from him [AP]

Former Bush Aide Proves in Lawsuit That Almost None of ‘Swing Vote’ Was His Idea