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Screenwriter Sues Over Taraji P. Henson’s Movie 'What Men Want'

By Ryan Naumann

A screenwriter is accusing Taraji P. Henson’s film “What Men Want” of being a rip-off of his work.

A man named Joe Carlini filed suit against Paramount Pictures, producer Will Packer and Black Entertainment Television.

He accuses the defendants of infringing on his copyright with their film “What Men Want”, which starred Henson. Carlini claims, “In 2014, Plaintiff began writing an original screenplay for a feature- length film along with David Collins (“Collins”), which had as its central plot point a woman obtaining the ability to hear men’s thoughts. By 2015, Plaintiff and Collins had written a complete draft of the screenplay, titled What The F Is He Thinking?”

He continues, “Starting in 2015, Plaintiff and Collins began shopping What The F Is He Thinking? to various production companies, studios, financers and actors. Broadly construed, “shopping” involves the process of circulating and/or pitching a project to various production companies, studios and film financers for the purpose of securing production, financing, and/or distribution of the project. Efforts are also undertaken during the shopping process to attach key talent and/or a director to the project.”


He adds, “During the shopping process, Plaintiff and Collins met with representatives of the following production companies and/or studios: Weinstein Company (now Lantern Entertainment), Montage Films, and Bloom. Plaintiff also spoke with potential talent, such as James Franco, Chris Pratt, King Bach, and Nick Swardson. The last meeting Plaintiff had with a studio representative was in July 2017, when he met with a representative from Bloom. At this meeting, Plaintiff provided the screenplay and business plan for What The F Is He Thinking? to the representatives. This was done in furtherance of facilitating a potential business relationship.”


Carlini claims nobody picked up his project. He believes one of the defendants took his pitch and approached Taraji Henson to star in ‘in a film about a woman who gains the ability to hear men’s thoughts.”

He claims, “at the time Henson was approached, there was no screenplay for the proposed film, which ultimately became the film, What Men Want. Principal photography for What Men Want started around five months after the meeting with Henson and started without a complete script.”

He says Paramount “announced in 2017 (before it even had a script) that it was “fast-tracking” the film for release in early 2019, alleging the film to be a loose remake of the 2000 Nancy Meyers film “What Women Want” starring Mel Gibson. Carlini says Henson’s film is not similar to Gibson’s, despite the titles.


Carlini accuses “What Men Want” of being substantially similar to his work. He points to similar characters, plots, events and pace.

He is demanding unspecified damages and all profits made from “What Men Want”.

The $20 million-dollar movie was a box office success ranking in $72 million worldwide.

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