It's not looking good for The Hurt Locker on Sunday. Not only has one of its producers been banned from the ceremony (due to over-soliciting votes from Academy members), but now, according to The Guardian, Kathryn Bigelow's intense war film is faced with a lawsuit.
38-year-old Serfeant Jeffrey Sarver, member of the army's Explosive Ordnance Disposal team, has claimed that Jeremy Renner's chraracter, Will James, is based on him. Summit Entertainment have responded that the character is purely fictitious despite Sarver's lawyer's argument that his life has been stolen.
The key is Mark Boal's screenplay, which he wrote after a 2005 stint in Iraq as a journalist for Playboy magazine. The lawsuit states that Sarver gave Boal details like the call-sign "Blaster One", which were then incorporated into the film. Sarver argues that Hollywood has "made billions exploiting veterans", but held off his lawsuit until after the Academy's voting period had finished.
Whether this backlash against Bigelow's movie - made for much less than its heated rival, James Cameron's Avatar - is a result of the contest between the two lead films is a matter of opinion. Bad-mouthing other contenders is a commonplace tradition (although The Hurt Locker seems to have been punished more than most), but a lawsuit is a new form of attack.
Ironically, alongside Sarver's claims that the realistic Hurt Locker is a little too realistic, other soldiers have stepped forward and criticised Mark Boal's screenplay in the LA Times for being "inaccurate" and "sloppy". Last year, Slumdog Milllionaire was heavily slated for supposedly exploiting Indian child actors. It ended up winning Best Picture.
- hurt locker
- jeremy renner
- jeremy sarver
- kathryn bigelow
- mark boal