hey have you all read/heard about this yet?
Lawsuit Flies “Behind Enemy Lines”
Tuesday August 20 9:00 PM ET
Admit it, you’d probably be suing mad, too, if you were played on screen by Owen Wilson.
Such is the case with Scott O’Grady, who is firing back at Behind Enemy Lines.
The straight-laced U.S Air Force pilot, who became a national hero in 1995 after he survived being shot down over war-torn Bosnia, is suing 20th Century Fox for producting the 2001 movie starring Wilson as a reckless, profane Navy pilot shot down over war torn-Bosnia.
O’Grady figures that Behind Enemy Lines was a thinly veiled, barely fictionalized account of his own travails. He claims the studio profited from his story without attempting to secure proper rights. And, perhaps worst of all, he alleges that Wilson’s depiction of the downed pilot damages the commercial value of O’Grady’s name and identity.
“Captain O’Grady was also troubled that the ‘hero’ in the Fox movie used foul language, was portrayed as a ‘hot dog’ type pilot, and disobeyed orders, unlike O’Grady,” grouses the complaint, filed in federal district court in Texarkana, Texas.
O’Grady, 36, who left the military earlier this year and is studying for a master’s degree in theology, is also going after the Discovery Channel, which produced a documentary about his ordeal titled Behind Enemy Lines: The Scott O’Grady Story. He alleges the cable network aired the program repeatedly from 1998 to 2001, backed by sponsorship from Fox as a way of promoting the movie.
O’Grady’s F-16 was hit by a missile when he was patrolling a NATO ( news – web sites) no-fly zone over Bosnia as part of the UN’s peacekeeping mission. He spent six days hiding from Serb forces, subsisting on leaves and ants, before being rescued by the U.S. Marines. He authored the best-selling book Return With Honor and also recounted the ordeal in the children’s book Basher Five-Two. He also makes the rounds on the motivational-speech circuit, using his adventure as his main riff.
“I was shot down, hunted, shot at–but that was the most positive experience of my life. There were three things that kept me going: faith, my family and my country,” O’Grady stated in a 1998 commencement address at West Virginia University.
Last year, O’Grady told Entertainment Tonight that he had seen Behind Enemy Lines, and “it’s not my story.” He stressed he didn’t collaborate with the filmmakers.
But reporters and reviewers, most of whom panned Behind Enemy Lines, made constant mention of the unrealistic rah-rah action flick’s apparent links to O’Grady’s real-life adventure–using such phrasing as “pretends to be,” “loosely based true adventure,” “inspired by the true story,” “based on the facts of,” etc.
While O’Grady didn’t cooperate, the military did, supplying the F/A Hornet flown by Wilson (whose character was named Lieutenant Chris Burnett) and the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, commanded in the film by Gene Hackman. The military also allowed Fox to hold the film’s premiere on the USS Nimitz in San Diego and screened it for the troops at several other bases.
Rushed into theaters early to capitalize on the country’s post 9-11 military mood the R-rated movie opened in second place in November 2001 and grossed about $56 million theatrically. The video and DVD were released in April.
O’Grady’s lawsuit charges invasion of privacy through the misappropriation of his name, likeness and identity, false representation and false advertising, unjust enrichment and civil conspiracy and seeks all the movie and television show profits, triple damages, legal fees and “an additional amount the court considers just.”
The studio and the cable network, as well as their respective parent divisions, 20th Century Fox Film Corp. and Discovery Communications, have so far declined comment on the suit.