Similarities with Hollywood flick a "coincidence': director

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A Vietnamese-American director has denied accusations that his latest film, which has for the most part gained good reviews from critics, copies a Hollywood film released in 1991.

"All the similarities are just coincidental," Victor Vu, who directed Giao lo dinh menh (Inferno), told the press last week after some movie fans accused him of plagiarizing Shattered, based on a novel by Richard Neely, directed by Wolfgang Petersen.

Fans have said both films have the same plot - a man losing his memory in a traffic accident and later finding out a shocking truth about his past.

Except for some small adjustments, all the characters, from the supporting cast to the leads, as also the twist to the ending of "Inferno" are similar to "Shattered," they've said.

Even the style of storytelling is the same both were hailed as Hitchcockian psychological thrillers.

However, Vu, who graduated from the School of Cinema and Television at Loyola Marymount University in 1998, said he wrote the script in 1996 and planned to make it into a short film for his graduation. But he did not do it then.

"I really had not known about Shattered and those similarities are [ ... ] out of my control," he said.

Considering his style is affected by Hollywood and Alfred Hitchcock, it's unavoidable in a way that the development of characters and plot are similar, the 35-year-old director said.

"I didn't copy ["Shattered"]. It is just a coincidence."

Vu also asked the press to take a closer look at differences between his creation and Shattered, but several fans said those differences were "unnecessary" and "clumsy."

In an interview with The Thao & Van Hoa (Sports & Culture), Vu stressed that all of his works are planned for screening in the US and other countries, so "there was no reason" for him to indulge in plagiarism as alleged.

When asked what if audiences aren't convinced by his explanations, he answered it's not hard to explain the similarities to people working in the industry, but it would be difficult for the public to understand them.

Meanwhile, Irene Trinh, representative of "Inferno" producer Saiga Films, said she hasn't watched "Shattered" yet, but confirmed they still planned to release the film overseas.

They will not mention that the film was inspired by Shattered, because it's "unnecessary," Vu said.

It's true that the two films are similar, so if "we adjust [our statements], it means that we are trying to make an excuse for ourselves to run away from the guilt," he said.

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