Rockstar Games, the US-based video game company which makes the Grand Theft Auto series, said in a statement issued via its parent company Take Two Interactive that it was launching action against the BBC for trademark infringement.
The 90-minute film charts Rockstar’s success with Grand Theft Auto, and the subsequent battles between co-founder Sam Houser and Jack Thompson, the born-again Christian lawyer and activist who waged a campaign against the series over its depictions of violence and sex.
Grand Theft Auto has repeatedly attracted controversy for its no-holds barred approach to depicting a life of crime, including the secret inclusion of a mini-game allowing players to have animated sex, which some users were able to unlock.
Daniel Radcliffe is set to play Houser, while Bill Paxton is lined up to play Thompson.
The production, which currently has the working title Game Changer, began filming in April and is due to air later this year.
It is being directed by Owen Harris, best known for directing episodes of the TV shows Black Mirror and Misfits, with a screenplay by James Wood, writer of BBCTwo sitcom Rev.
A Rockstar spokesperson said: “Our goal is to ensure that our trademarks are not misused in the BBC’s pursuit of an unofficial depiction of purported events related to Rockstar Games.
“We have attempted multiple times to resolve this matter with the BBC without any meaningful resolution. It is our obligation to protect our intellectual property and unfortunately in this case litigation was necessary.”
A BBC spokesperson said said the corporation “does not comment on legal matters”.