A bizarre ransom attempt unfolding in Australia is eerily similar to the plot of the upcoming comedy, 30 Minutes or Less. Madeleine Pulver, a teenage member of one of Sydney's wealthiest families, was allegedly strapped with a "collar bomb" that included a ransom note demanding cash from her father William, the CEO of an international software company. The plot of 30 Minutes or Less involves a similar attack in which a hapless pizza boy is strapped with a bomb and forced to rob a bank.

Thankful, the girl has been freed from the device and reunited with her parents, and an investigation is underway into who is responsible for the crime. But you can almost hear the producers of 30 Minutes or Less panicking. The fact that the bizarre incident happened just over a week before the film's premiere could prove to be a major headache should anyone try to pin the incident's inspiration on the film.

At this time there is no evidence to suggest that 30 Minutes or Less inspired the attack. In fact, the film was based on an actual collar-bomb attack that occurred in Pennsylvania back in 2003. If anything, the Pennsylvania incident would seem to be the more likely culprit. But the striking similarities between the incident in Sydney and the film's plot could prove too worrisome for film studios that have long been known to error on the side of caution.

The Arnold Schwarzenegger film Collateral Damage and several other films were delayed for months following the September 11th attacks out of fear that their terrorist-heavy plots would offend moviegoers. Obviously, the incident in Sydney is nowhere near the scale of 9-11. But even so, it's not hard to imagine the film being delayed should a controversy arise. And given the willingness of so many media figures to blame Hollywood for every ill our society faces, it's probably only a matter of time.

(The Herald Sun)