If Angelina Jolie had a press person or cared about the press she might not be in so much trouble today. She’s being sued by a Croatian named Josip J. Knezevic who claims Jolie made his book into her directing debut, “In the Land of Blood and Honey.” The complaint, filed by a Chicago law firm, claims that Jolie’s Bosnian producer, Edin Sarkic, had meetings and exchanged text messages with Knezevic establishing a chain that led to the alleged plagiarism.
But a Google search of Knezevic turns up an interesting exchange on You Tune from about four years ago. Knezevic got into a pissing match on the YouTube message board with another filmmaker, Robbie Wright. He claimed that Wright had stolen his work for a video about the Bosnian conflict set to Seal’s record, “Crazy.” But people on the board came to Wright’s defense, and Wright sent Knezevic copies of all his press passes from the Bosnian-Serbian war. He and his followers say all the footage from the video was shot by him.
Here’s the link to that page: http://www.youtube.com/all_comments?v=mUVJU3uWOuo&page=2
Knezevic has his own YouTube videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDSi-sNLvKM
Knezevic’s lawyer tells me he knows about this exchange. “It isn’t material to our case.”
Knezevic has filed his suit under an Americanized name, Joseph J. Braddock, against Jolie, Sarkic, and Graham King’s FilmDistrict.
The lawsuit attempts to establish that contact was made between Braddock and Sarkic, as well as between Sarkic and Brad Pitt’s Make it Right Foundation. Emails and texts could be evidence that Jolie could have been made aware of Braddock’s novel. The suit goes on:
“The similarities between the Subject Work and the Motion Picture are obvious: the Motion Picture copies key plot elements, themes, characters, events, sequences and settings of the Subject Work, including without limitation, the following:
a. The Subject Work illustrates a love story that takes place in war-torn Bosnia and Herzegovina in the early 1990’s. The Motion Picture also depicts a love story that takes place in war-torn Bosnia and Herzegovina in the early 1990’s.
b. The Subject Work’s main female character is a Croatian (her mother is a Muslim), living near Sarajevo, who is captured and imprisoned in a Serbian-held concentration camp that was located in a village, which was highly unusual since most camps were located in abandoned industrial or agricultural complexes. The Motion Picture’s main female character is also a Muslim who is captured and imprisoned in a Serbian-held camp that was located in a village, not an abandoned complex.
c. The Subject Work’s main female character is subject to continuous abuse and rape by soldiers and officers in the camp. In addition to being raped continuously by soldiers and officers, she is forced to become a servant at the camp headquarters, a duty assumed by very few of the captives. The Motion Picture’s main female character is also subject to continuous rape by soldiers and officers Case: 1:11-cv-08597 Document #: 1 Filed: 12/02/11 Page 6 of 11 PageID #:6
in the camp and subsequently becomes a servant at camp headquarters.
d. The Subject Work’s main male character is the deputy camp commander. His father is a high-ranking “Greater Serbian” nationalist and important officer of the Yugoslav Peoples Army. The Motion Picture’s main male character is also a camp commander whose father is a high-ranking “Greater Serbian” nationalist and important officer of the Yugoslav Peoples Army.
e. In the Subject Work, the main male character struggles with the polarity of his emotions and his military duty; he loves the main female character but is expected to fulfill his duties as a high-ranking member in the army force. Amidst his struggle, he helps her escape from camp. In the Motion Picture, the main male character also struggles with his love for the main female character and his duties as a high-ranking member of the army force. Like in the Subject Work, the main male character in the Motion Picture helps the main female character escape from the camp.”
What’s interesting about this case: usually people who sue over plagiarism wait until a movie or book has made some money, then swoop in. In this case, the complainant isn’t waiting at all.
Meantime, Jolie’s movie has been mostly ignored in this awards season. Jolie hasn’t helped herself so much by banning press from tonight’s premiere and party–much the same way she had photographers tossed from Namibia years ago, and insisted on reporters signing agreements not to ask her certain questions during the release of “A Mighty Heart.” Oh, Angelina. For a woman who claims to be a diplomat, you’re not very diplomatic.