James Franco Tricked ‘The Disaster Artist’s Original Screenwriter Into Selling His Script for $5,000, Claims Lawsuit

Ryan Moody says he was told he would receive an associate producer credit.
"The Disaster Artist"
James Franco in "The Disaster Artist"

Ryan Moody, who wrote an early draft of what became “The Disaster Artist,” has filed a lawsuit alleging that he was tricked into selling his script for a mere $5,000. A former student of James Franco’s at UCLA, Moody says he was hired to adapt Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell’s book about the making of “The Room” in 2013 and continued working on the project until March 2014, when Franco told him he wanted to replace him with more established scribes.

“Hey,” Franco wrote in an email dated April 2, 2014 and obtained by Variety. “Seth and evan [Goldberg] and [James] weaver want you on as an assoc producer and to give notes on every draft. Cool? Get going on ‘on the bus,’ that’s yours.”

“On the Bus” was Moody’s passion project, and he claims he was told its production budget would be in the same range as that of “The Disaster Artist.” Though he originally wanted to retain his writer credit, Moody agreed to waive it; two years later he was told that “On the Bus” would only have a budget of $50,000.

“At that point, Moody realized that he had been played,” according to the suit. Moody was apparently unaware that he didn’t receive an associate-producer credit on the film until it was released late last year.

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