Director and screenwriter spar over Taiwanese thriller

Argument centers on payment for use of original story idea

(Photo from Facebook)

(Photo from Facebook)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The director and the screenwriter of just-released Taiwanese crime thriller “Who Killed Cock Robin?” (目擊者) sparred over a payment dispute Saturday.

The movie tells the story of a journalist who finds out that his car was involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident he once witnessed and took pictures of which were too blurred to use as evidence.

The present-day dispute between director Cheng Wei-hao (程偉豪) and screenwriter Dorothy Chen (陳玉珊) almost echoes the who-said-what intrigue of the movie itself.

The author claimed that while the movie was released on March 31, she still had not seen the NT$150,000 (US$4,900) she had been promised for her writing.

Cheng responded by saying he had been willing to pay her from the start for the rights to use her story, but she had failed to supply an account number and had demanded more money than the original agreement stipulated. The director presented a document, signed in March 2015, apparently listing an agreement between the two about Cheng using her story to base his movie on.

The story written by Chen and the final content of the film were different, the director said, adding that the writer’s signature on the document meant she had given total agreement to the use of her idea for rewrites and changes.

In addition, the credits in the movie listed Chen’s name as an author of the original story, Cheng said, repeating his offer to pay her the money due.

The movie cast includes Tiffany Hsu Wei-ning (許瑋甯), who also acted in Cheng’s previous film, The Tag-Along (紅一小女孩), Kaiser Chuang (莊凱勛) and Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee’s (李安) son Mason Lee (李淳).