More bad news for Justin Timberlake: His new movie, 'In Time,' has just been hit with a lawsuit that seeks to stop its Oct. 28 release. The script for the upcoming sci-fi thriller -- which is set in a future where time is literally money -- is credited to director Andrew Niccol ('Gattaca'), but legendary sci-fi author Harlan Ellison says the new film is ripping off a very similar prize-winning short story he wrote in 1965.

According to the lawsuit, 'In Time,' bears a number of similarities to Ellison's Hugo and Nebula-award-winning story, 'Repent, Harlequin! Said The Ticktockman.' Both are set in a "dystopian corporate future in which everyone is allotted a specific amount of time to live" and both have a government authority known as a "Timekeeper" that tracks the exact amount of time each person has left.

Ellison says the similarities are "obvious" and that critic Richard Roeper, who's already seen the film, agrees with him. He's demanding all profits from 'In Time' -- which won't be much if he successfully stops the release.

Ellison's many Hollywood credits include the 'Star Trek' episode "The City on the Edge of Forever" and the 1969 post-apocalyptic story 'A Boy and his Dog,' which was turned into a movie starring Don Johnson.

But not all of those projects have gone well: In 1977, he was hired to adapt fellow sci-fi author Isaac Asimov's 'I, Robot' into a screeplay, but was dropped from the project after accusing a Warner Bros. executive of having the "intellectual capacity of an artichoke." The film was eventually made in 2004, without Ellison's involvement.

A lawsuit over James Cameron's 'The Terminator,' which alleged that it was based on his 'Demon With a Glass Hand' episode of 'The Outer Limits' was settled with a screen credit "acknowledging" Ellison at the end of the film. Cameron wasn't happy about it, calling Ellison "a parasite who can kiss my ass."

[via THR, Wikipedia]

image courtesy 20th Century Fox