Hey, They Announced the Cast for That Live Version of the People in Trouble Knockoff

Illustration for article titled Hey, They Announced the Cast for That Live Version of the iPeople in Trouble/i Knockoff
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Fox just announced the cast for its live television adaptation of Rent, Jonathan Larson’s Tony Award-winning Broadway musical that appears to have plagiarized a bunch of its content from Sarah Schulman’s 1990 novel People in Trouble.


Tinashe’s playing Mimi, says The Hollywood Reporter, and Drag Race alum Valentina is Angel. Vanessa Hudgens will take on the role of Maureen, the East Village performance artist whose character and plot share a number of similarities with Kate, one of the characters from Schulman’s People in Trouble who also happens to be caught in a bisexual love triangle and aaaaaaalso happens to stage a performance in protest of a landlord trying to evict tenants living with HIV and AIDS. Rounding out the cast are Kiersey Clemons and Jordan Fisher as Joanne and Mark, respectively—characters, Schulman argues, were based on People in Trouble’s Molly and Peter.

Schulman details her ultimately futile efforts to pursue legal action against the estate of Jonathan Larson—who, contrary to popular imagination, wasn’t gay, never lived in the East Village, and didn’t die of an AIDS-related illness—in Stagestruck: Theater, AIDS, and the Marketing of Gay America, a book I can’t recommend highly enough! Rent: Live! airs January 27 on Fox.

Contributor, Jezebel

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Larson took some of the plot from Schulman, and spoiler alert, also “plagiarized” Puccini, I guess, because some of the show is based on La Boheme. Schulman didn’t (and couldn’t) take legal action because Larson didn’t use any of her material word-for-word. He incorporated some general plot points, and general plot isn’t copyrightable material.

And yes, he didn’t live in the East Village, but rather poor in neighboring SoHo at the exact time he wrote about? I don’t understand the “Gotcha!” outrage. The revolutionary aspect of Rent was the pop-rock music in an American musical and the incorporation of the issues so prevalent in downtown NY in that time period that brought the story to millions, not that no one else in the history of the world had ever written about similar issues before.