Tom Cruise named in $1 billion lawsuit over alleged theft of 'Mission: Impossible' script

A lawyer for Tom Cruise poured scorn on a $1 billion lawsuit alleging that filmmakers stole a screenwriter's work to create a blockbuster "Mission: Impossible" film, calling the legal action "bizarre."

Timothy Patrick McLanahan claims the 2011 film "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" was based on a script he wrote in 1998 called "Head On," which he tried unsuccessfully to get made in Hollywood.

He pitched it initially to the William Morris Agency, but "I was told... that they could not use the script as a movie," McLanahan wrote in the lawsuit, filed in December and published this week by celebrity news website Radar Online.

He alleges agents there then passed the screenplay, without his permission, to Creative Artists Agency (CAA), which represents Cruise, leading to a project he claims became the 2011 "Mission: Impossible" movie.

When McLanahan watched the film, "I immediately realized that the scripts for this movie had been illegally written and produced from Head On's 1998 copywright," he wrote in the lawsuit, which names Cruise among 13 defendants.

But Cruise's lawyer Bert Fields dismissed the lawsuit.

"Tom Cruise has never stolen anything from anyone," he told AFP Wednesday. "This bizarre lawsuit against 13 people... will be quickly dismissed by the court."

In his legal filing, McLanahan specified why he is seeking $1 billion.

He noted that "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" made over $690 million at the box office, some $145 million in DVD and Blu-ray sales, and millions of dollars in film rentals.

"Because the Ghost Protocol film generated close to $1 billion, I am asking for this amount in damages," he wrote in the lawsuit, filed in California on December 17.