Screen Junkies » insane laws http://www.screenjunkies.com Movie Reviews & TV Show Reviews Sun, 14 Sep 2014 20:59:28 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.3.1 Is ‘The Help’ Lawsuit Complete B.S.? http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/is-the-help-lawsuit-complete-b-s/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/is-the-help-lawsuit-complete-b-s/#comments Thu, 11 Aug 2011 01:09:18 +0000 Jame Gumb http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=224226 Maybe, but not necessarily.

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Up until now, the only reason I had to care about The Help was the fact that Emma Stone is in it. But today, after reading about a lawsuit filed against the author of the book on which the film is based, I care slightly more. Why? Because it poses an interesting question: When is it OK for a book or film to use someone’s likeness?

Ablene Cooper, who worked for the brother of Kathryn Stockett, the book’s author, claims that one of protagonists, a maid named Aibileen, is based on her. She came to this conclusion after noting several similarities between her and the character, such as…

  • Both have names that begin with the letter ‘a’ (Ablene and Aibileen)
  • Both are maids…
  • Both worked in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960′s…
  • Both have a gold tooth…
  • Both lost a son to cancer.

Considering that the author of the book knew Cooper, it’s not a stretch to believe that the similarities are more than coincidence. But is there enough for a lawsuit? After all, the name has been changed, and the book claims to be a work of fiction. Isn’t that enough to ward off this kind of legal trouble? Not necessarily.

According to Mark Litwak’s Entertainment Law Resources, there is no problem with basing a character off of a real individual, so long as the public cannot readily identify the individual in question. On his website, Litwak encourages writers to change the context surrounding their characters as well as their names in order to avoid any unwanted recognition. But aside from the name, Stockett failed to do this in The Help. Both Cooper and her fictional character share many defining characteristics, including location, profession, the loss of a son, and a particularly damning gold tooth.

However, another matter comes into play. Did this fictionalized portrayal of Cooper defame her in any way? Citing the case of Leopold v. Levin, in which convicted murderer Nathan Leopold sued the author of a fictionalized novel based on his case, Litwak claims that such a fictionalized portrayal would have to be highly offensive to meet the “standard for determining invasion of privacy.” Although Cooper’s lawyers are pointing to a scene in which the character of Aibileen compares her skin color to that of a roach, the idea that the film is somehow defaming Cooper is tough to swallow.

Other questions remain which bring Cooper’s motives into doubt. For starters, it would seem that the one-year statute of limitations has already run out. Second, why is she only seeking $75,000? Third, the fact that Cooper waited until the film was released to start making a fuss is somewhat suspect. But no matter how it plays out, one thing is certain: I would rather bash my head into a brick wall than sit through this movie.

(Source: ABC News)

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Bateman And Vaughn Partner For Cryptically-Titled ‘Insane Laws’ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/jason-bateman-and-vince-vaughn-partner-for-cryptically-titled-insane-laws/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/jason-bateman-and-vince-vaughn-partner-for-cryptically-titled-insane-laws/#comments Thu, 09 Jun 2011 22:30:05 +0000 Penn Collins http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=215621 Vince Vaughn to play an entirely new type of schlubby dude in this film. Hold on to your seats!

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Jason Bateman loves the buddy system. Never one to star in a film alone, this time he’s gotten Vince Vaughn to saddle up (metaphorically) with him for Insane Laws, a buddy comedy that examines the changing dynamic of a male relationship as two men age, have kids, and the grandkids. So Vince Vaughn will be playing a grandfather. That’s kind of depressing, even though Vince Vaughn does kind of look like a grandfather.

The film will be helmed by writer-turned-director Jeremy Garelick, who wrote The Break-Up and did some work on The Hangover. The movie could go into production as early as this fall, Deadline reports.

Every aspect of this project seems to make sense to me except for the title. My gut instinct is that it’s a play on “in-laws.” I hope that’s not the case, only because the wordplay is really, really, really awful. Or maybe they’re just gonna poke fun at some wacky laws. In Texas there’s a law that you can’t take more than three sips of beer while standing. That legislation is ripe for satire.

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Vince Vaughn Reteaming With ‘The Break-Up’ Scribe For A Movie That Sounds Way Worse http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/vince-vaughn-reteaming-with-the-break-up-scribe-for-a-movie-that-sounds-way-worse/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/vince-vaughn-reteaming-with-the-break-up-scribe-for-a-movie-that-sounds-way-worse/#comments Fri, 04 Mar 2011 23:58:13 +0000 Penn Collins http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=102264 Vince Vaughn is doing another movie about being a grown-up schlub. It was his turn in the Sandler-James-Vaughn rotation.

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Universal Pictures is in discussions to pick up Jeremy Garelick’s script for Insane Laws, a film about two childhood friends who have to deal with some uncomfortable truths when their grown children fall in love with each other. The project will serve as a Vince Vaughn vehicle, as Garelick having scripted Vaughn’s blockbuster Th Break Up in 2006. With Grown UpsI Hate You, Dad, and this inevitable project, it would seem that studios are banking on moving once-edgy comedians into a blander, more accesible stage of adulthood in which they raise kids and do nothing funny ever.

Columbia had picked up the script for millions in 2009, but now it would appear that Universal is moving forward with the project, though details of the transaction between the two aren’t available.

It was widely speculated in my own head that Vaughn’s childhood friend will be either be Kevin James or a CGI talking dog voiced by Kevin James. (THR)

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