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Plugged In

Did Grand Theft Auto creators threaten ‘Shawshank’ writer?

Plugged In

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L.A. Noire (Credit: Rockstar Games)

Hollywood and the video game industry usually have a fairly cordial relationship. Studios need game publishers to put out licensed products for their tentpole films, and game makers are often eager to expand the universe that directors create on screen.

This week, though, there was a fracture in that relationship, as Rockstar Games, creators of the Grand Theft Auto franchise, and Frank Darabont, screenwriter of films like "The Shawshank Redemption" and "The Green Mile" and developer of AMC's "The Walking Dead," bickered publicly about an upcoming project, each with a different version of the story.

At issue is a new show Darabont's working on, which seems to revolve around a conflict between the Los Angeles Police Department and criminals led by a one-time boxer who rose to the top of L.A.’s underworld.

Originally, he told io9, the show was to be named L.A. Noir, but then the game developer made some ominous legal threats.

"Yes, it was going to be called L.A. Noir, based on the book by John Buntin," he said. "But the video game company with the video game called L.A. Noire (with an e!) threatened to sue the sh*t out of me, TNT, every company that actually ever worked in Hollywood. And they have the billions of dollars to back it up, apparently. So we're changing the title, and I do believe the title is going to be Lost Angels."

Rockstar, though, says it never threatened Darabont -- or anyone -- about the show. All it did, it says, was warn of a potential conflict.

"It's unfortunate that Mr. Darabont finds it necessary to gain publicity by making inaccurate statements -- Take-Two never contacted Mr. Darabont nor threatened to sue any party," said Take-Two's Alan Lewis. "The facts are that Take-Two reached out to Turner to express concern over confusion between the properties and they responded that they had decided to change the title of the show independent of Take-Two's concerns."

Who's telling the truth? Who knows? But don't expect Darabont to pen any content for GTA V.

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