Did Netflix Steal This Aussie Filmmaker’s Idea?

Netflix is facing legal action as an Australian filmmaker asserts that the streamer stole his idea and developed it into a series starring Zac Efron.

Ben Waddell claims that the documentary travel series Down To Earth With Zac Efron, was his idea and even carries the same name as his own ideation. The filmmaker says that he pitched a series titled Down To Earth With Ben Waddell Netflix in 2017 but was unsuccessful in getting it greenlit.

Waddell’s lawyers have argued the trailers and concept for the two projects feature a number of  similarities that are “too extensive and specific to be a coincidence” and that it is clear to them that the streamer created Down To Earth with Zac Efron from Waddell’s pilot pitch.

According to the attorneys, one such similarity is Efron’s musing that he has always “been a tourist” in previous travels, along with a trailer intro which sees the High School Musical star attempting to speak in a foreign language.

Waddell’s lawyer also reported that the show’s title and concept were “substantially identical”, and cited individual shots used in the trailer that closely resembled Waddell’s pilot.

According to Waddell, his 2017 concept was created as a means of bringing, “awareness to the people and places in the world that look after the environment, whilst helping us to learn how to do the same”.

Given that the documentarian copyrighted his pitch — which he presented to various platforms — in 2017, his lawyer says that Waddell’s rights will be enforced, despite the fact that the original hope was avoid litigation.

In an Instagram video Waddell said, “This is not a route that we originally wanted to go down. Down To Earth Season One came out nine months ago.

“We could have come out to the media kicking and screaming, gone all over social media. But we didn’t. We contacted producers quietly and professionally and unfortunately they decided to ignore us.

“So this is why we’re making some noise now.”

Waddell is looking to raise $50,000 for his impending legal battle and has set up a GoFundMe campaign to help him achieve that goal. The fundraiser has so far raised $6600.

Meanwhile, Netflix is currently filming Series two of Down to Earth with Zac Efron in Australia.

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