Iraq Veteran Kindly Waits For Oscar Voting to End Before Suing Hurt Locker Producers


The Hurt Locker broadsides kept coming Tuesday, as the man with whom writer-producer Mark Boal was once embedded as a journalist in Iraq has filed a lawsuit claiming Locker was based on his life and work. The charges were first revealed in a press release sent out by lawyers for Master Sgt. Jeffrey S. Sarver, the bomb-defusion expert whom Boal profiled for Playboy in 2005. So wait a second: After alll that crap saying The Hurt Locker was inaccurate and disrespectful, another veteran steps forward on the last day of Oscar voting to say it was so close to life it ripped off his identity? What the hell is going on here?

Naturally (or maybe unnaturally, considering the 180-degree turn in the company line), the LAT broke the story, getting Boal on the phone for his response to allegations he'd based his Oscar-nominated screenplay on Sarver. "There are similarities, because you'd find similarities to events that happened to lots of these guys," Boal told Patrick Goldstein, acknowledging that Sarver kept a box of EOD keepsakes (not unlike that of Locker's Will James) and that, yes, Sarver was known to take long walks to manually tend to bombs that robots couldn't defuse. So what, Boal added? "[I]t's what those guys do for a living. [...] But the screenplay is not about him. I talked to easily over 100 soldiers during my research and reshuffled everything I learned in a way that would be authentic, but would also make for a dramatic story."

Mission accomplished, except now -- with Inglourious Basterds mouthbreathing down their necks and co-producer Nicolas Chartier already barred from the ceremony -- Boal and Co. face the even more dramatic story of withstanding a "multimillion dollar lawsuit on behalf of an Iraq war hero." Sarver's lawyer plans a press conference for today, at which point you can expect at least a brief follow-up from Movieline -- assuming we can find bomb-squad gear of our own for the rest of this propulsive seasonal shrapnel. Can't we just enjoy the next four days without killing each other? Please?

· More Hurt Locker controversy: Was it based on a real bomb disposal expert's life? [LAT]


  • sweetbiscuit says:

    Does Sgt. Sarver realize that if he wins the case, he'll have to explain the lead character's speech given to his baby in the last part of the film? Cuz someone needs to take the heat for that bit.

  • Leigh Brackett says:

    Does anyone remember Billy Wilder's "Ace in the Hole?" It's all about cynical opportunism - as is this HURT LOCKER "controversy." What has happened to class, grace, humility, self-effacement? Gone, baby, gone. Now everybody wants a piece of the pie, or more accurately, the money. Sad commentary on our value-less times...

  • Els Grum says:

    Points for Sarver's case: He had his own code name and it was blatantly stolen and used in the screenplay, and Sarver coined the term Hurt Locker.
    It is so obvious that the embedded reporter thought that he could get away with stealing an identity for profit, his own.
    The producers will settle, and gladly, so they are not dragged through the mud their screenwriter produced.