SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – A bomb disposal expert who served in the Iraq war plans to sue the makers of "The Hurt Locker," claiming the film's lead character is based on him and that they cheated him out of "financial participation in the film," his attorney said.
Attorney Geoffrey Fieger said at a news conference Wednesday that he plans to file the multimillion-dollar lawsuit in New Jersey court on behalf of Master Sgt. Jeffrey Sarver.
Sarver claims the film's screenwriter, Mark Boal, was embedded in Sarver's unit and that the information he gathered was used in the film, Fieger said in a news release. The film is nominated for nine Academy Awards, including best original screenplay.
Sarver says the main character, Will James, is based on him and that James' call signal, "Blaster One," was his during his tours of duty, Fieger said. Sarver also says he coined the phrase "The Hurt Locker."
Fieger said Boal's embedded reporting led to an article in Playboy magazine about Sarver, and that story later was adapted by Boal for "The Hurt Locker" screenplay.
The movie's U.S. distributor, Summit Entertainment, issued a statement saying it hopes "for a quick resolution to the claims made by Master Sgt. Sarver."
"The film is a story about heroes depicting a fictional account of what brave men and women do on the battlefield," the company said. "We have no doubt that Master Sgt. Sarver served his country with honor and commitment risking his life for a greater good, but we distributed the film based on a fictional screenplay written by Mark Boal."
It's been a rough start to the week for "The Hurt Locker." On Monday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences penalized one of the film's producers because of e-mails he sent urging academy members to vote for his movie.