A New York playwright filed a lawsuit seeking for the immediate shut down of Barbershop: The Next Cut as he claims the film ripped off his stage play.
Ronald Dickerson, a writer, actor and film director also known as JD Lawrence, filed the lawsuit on Monday claiming $20 million in damages and requesting the movie’s release in theaters to be blocked.
The new movie, which hits theaters Friday and is directed by Malcolm D Lee, marks the third film of a series of comedies that he claims ripped off his stage play Scissors.
The lawsuit claims the plot, themes, characters and situation bear an overwhelming resemblance to those of his stage play that toured in cities around the country from 1998-2001.
The movies were all set in a barbershop in a black neighborhood with the focus being on the shop’s importance to the community, which Lawrence says is similar to his play, according to TMZ.
He said there are similarities in the characters, plot lines, and events.
Lawrence told TMZ that his play has an elderly owner just like Cedric the Entertainer’s character, Eddie.
He added that both feature similar discussions about the O.J. Simpson murder trial and white barbers who get clowned for being white.
The Barbershop comedy was revived when director Lee stepped in. Lee is also the director of the 1999 film The Best Man and its 2013 sequel The Best Man Holiday.
He told the New York Times that when he took on the project his main concern was finding the right balance between humor and drama.
‘Tone was big,’ he said. ‘I wanted to make sure the emotional spine was right. But I also wanted to make sure we never let the audience forget that they’re in a comedy.’