Tyler Perry Sued: Author Terri Donald Alleges Filmmaker Stole Plot for "Good Deeds"
Apparently, anyone really can write a Tyler Perry movie. Author Terri Donald is alleging as much, suing the filmmaker in federal court. Donald is accusing Perry of lifting the plot of his 2012 movie, "Good Deeds," from her book.
Donald, who also writes under the pseudonym TLO Red'ness, says Perry based the film on her 2007 book, "Bad Apples Can Be Good Fruit."
The lawsuit, filed in Philadelphia, says Donald sent a copy of her book to Perry's company before production on the movie began.
According to The Chicago Tribune, Donald is seeking $225,000 in initial damages as well as an injunction requiring the company to add a credit for her book in the opening and closing credits. The lawsuit also demands the company provide a breakdown of the movie's profits.
"Good Deeds," which stars Perry as a wealthy businessman who meets a struggling single mother, earned approximately $35 million at the box office after its February release. The film received largely negative reviews, with a current score of 32 percent on RottenTomatoes.com.
Representatives for Perry and Lions Gate Entertainment, which released the film and is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit, have not commented on the matter.
Perry is best known for his character Madea, a wisecracking old woman he portrays in drag in several of his movies.
Donald's first novel, "Bad Apples Can Be Good Fruit" was written during her time as a U.S. Army combat photographer. Donald was trying to have the book made into a film, which she revealed on her website where she is also seeking funding.
Donald's book is "A compelling story of a woman s struggle to free herself from the past in order to move forward in the future with the man she loves. This mysterious secret must unfold in order for the woman to allow a committed vow. In this story her past unravels tragedy, murder and her secret. What the man isn't being honest about is that he also has a secret that materializes in the midst of the storm and the raging fury it holds. The two come to grips with the truths and decide for the future and what it has to offer them," said Amazon.
"Bad Apples" may have been Donald's first stab at writing, but as she reveals on her website, her life story is straight out of a harrowing novel.
Donald bluntly lays out her life story on her website: "At 13 Years Old Was Placed in the Group Home System at St. Christopher's Dobbs Ferry NYC. Due to Unforeseen Circumstances Became Homeless at 13 Years Old. Slept on Trains, In Bathrooms, Alleyways and Pan Handled During the Day for Food. Spent 3 Years Off and On Abused By an Older Man, Physically, Mentally and Emotionally until his Arrest in 1996, By 16 Years Old Became an Emancipated Minor from the State of NYC."
Along with those shocking anecdotes, Donald says she wrote a movie at the age of 20 called "The Powers," which she claims the show "Heroes" was based on. She also claims to have co-written and produced the eight-times platinum hit song "Informer" by Canadian reggae singer Snow.