Christopher Columbus is popularly credited with discovering North America. But who discovered him?
That question is at issue in a U.S. District Court suit filed Wednesday, pitting "Superman" movie producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind against director Ridley Scott.
They claim that Scott, one of Hollywood's hottest filmmakers, stole their idea for a project based on Columbus' life after they considered hiring him as the film's director.
Their suit asserts that Scott announced plans for his own Columbus biography after the Salkinds dropped him from their film. By doing so, Scott broke a pledge to keep details of their plan confidential, says the suit, which maintains that Scott's project is based directly on the Salkinds' and has identical elements.
They contend Scott's actions have interfered with their ability to proceed with their film. They ask that Scott: be barred from making a Columbus movie, be forced to return historical materials they say he obtained from them and that he pay $40 million in damages.
Scott and his agent, Jeffrey Berg, were out of the country and could not be reached for comment.
Both Columbus films are set for release in 1992, the 500th anniversary of Columbus' discovery of North America.