As Oscar night beckons, The Hurt Locker is suddenly at the heart of several controversies.
The latest is a lawsuit filed by Master Sgt. Jeffrey Sarver against Summit Entertainment. According to CNN, Sarver claims that the film’s screenwriter Mark Boal based the main character on him. He wants his name added to the opening credits and, of course, a cut of the film’s profits.
CNN: “The screenplay says he is a blonde, blue-eyed trailer trash from Tennessee, but he’s blonde, blue-eyed and grew up in a trailer in West Virginia.
“Nobody can claim with a straight face that it’s not Jeff Sarver,” [lawyer Geoffrey Fieger] said.
Earlier this week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Nicolas Chartier, one of the film’s four producers, would not be welcome at Sunday’s ceremony. Chartier sent an email to academy members in February urging them to vote for Hurt Locker over Avatar, something forbidden by the Academy’s rules against direct promotion or degradation of a film to academy members.
Last week a Newsweek column came out which Paul Rieckhoff, veteran and executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, picked apart the film’s wartime depiction, writing, “those of us who have served in the military couldn’t help but be distracted by a litany of inaccuracies that reveal not only a lack of research, but ultimately respect for the American military.”
The drama only adds to what is already an interesting award story, as cheap indie Hurt Locker competes with big bucks blockbuster Avatar. Of course, there’s also the fun fact that the films’ respective directors are ex-spouses.
All the controversy is great for Hurt Locker. It’s already the only film about the Iraq war that has managed to attract mainstream audiences (Brothers may have out-earned Hurt Locker domestically, but the star power of Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman should be credited), and these recent bouts of drama will surely boost DVD revenue.
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