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In The Land of Blood & Lawsuits: Jolie, GK Films and FilmDistrict Sued Over Film's Similarities to Croatian Book

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood December 6, 2011 at 1:30PM

Angelina Jolie (along with GK Films, FilmDistrict and Scout Film) is being sued. Croatian journalist James Braddock alleges that her film, "In The Land of Blood and Honey," has similarities with his 2007 book, "The Soul Shattering." For two years beginning in 2008, he states that he consulted with Edin Sarkic, a co-producer on the film (on points including "plot and character development and the story's cultural significance and historical accuracy"). The two allegedly discussed the possibility of adapting his book, but that's as far as it went until Braddock learned of Jolie's film.
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Jolie on the set of "In The Land of Blood and Honey"
Jolie on the set of "In The Land of Blood and Honey"

Angelina Jolie (along with GK Films, FilmDistrict and Scout Film) is being sued. Croatian journalist James Braddock alleges that her film, "In The Land of Blood and Honey," has similarities with his 2007 book, "The Soul Shattering." For two years beginning in 2008, he states that he consulted with Edin Sarkic, a co-producer on the film (on points including "plot and character development and the story's cultural significance and historical accuracy"). The two allegedly discussed the possibility of adapting his book, but that's as far as it went until Braddock learned of Jolie's film.

Among the alledged similarities between the book and the film: the Bosnian war backdrop, a captured female prisoner raped by soldiers and a Serbian commander who falls in love with her and aids her escape. This sort of thing comes up all the time and is hard to prove. As THR puts it, if Braddock's case can prove "substantial similarity in expression, not merely the use of unprotectable ideas," then Jolie & Co. may not have such a Merry Christmas; Braddock seeks not only statutory damages but an injuction on the release, which is slated for December 23. In talking to press, Jolie has been open to questions and feedback to make the film as accurate as possible. She says that she wrote the script over the course of a month during a flu-induced quarantine in the attic of her house in France.

If this website is the real deal, Braddock, aka Josip J. Knezevic, lays it all out in an angry statement, in which he states "her idea is nothing but a doctored version of my novel," and that "she played with my novel by dissecting and reducing it into a banal love story that would be impossible during the war." Newsweek's Janine di Giovanni, who herself lived through the siege of Sarajevo in the early 1990s, states that she scanned the film with a critical eye for anything inauthentic and was impressed.

Here's more on the lawsuit, the film and Jolie on 60 Minutes.

This article is related to: News, News, Directors, Headliners, Genres


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.