Director Guy Ritchie has responded to a lawsuit claiming that he stole the idea for 2019’s The Gentlemen from a script written by his friend.

What lawsuit is Guy Ritchie involved in?

The lawsuit comes from actor and writer Mickey de Hara, a friend of Ritchie’s who was actually in his 1999 film Snatch. De Hara filed a lawsuit in April in London’s High Court (via Variety), in which he alleges that Ritchie reneged on a contract the pair had for a sequel to the 2008 gangster movie RockNRolla and that The Gentlemen copies heavily from it, including specific plot points and characters.

According to a defense filing submitted to the court this week, Ritchie outright denied any allegations, including claims that Ritchie hired de Hara to write the RockNRolla sequel (which would have been called The Real RockNRolla) and that the film was set to be based on de Hara’s life. Ritchie’s claim also mentions that he paid de Hara £25,000 in 2006 under a “work for hire” agreement.

This agreement saw de Hara provide “anecdotes” and act “as a sounding board” for ideas while Ritchie wrote the sequel. Per the defense statement, “several” of those anecdotes did “influence aspects” of the final screenplay. Ritchie’s statement also says that he did discuss the possibility of turning RockNRolla into a trilogy, with de Hara and writer Martin Askew set to potentially receive credits, but no agreement was ever made.

As it stands, de Hara is seeking over $250,000 as well as a credit on The Gentlemen.

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