Angelina Jolie responds to lawsuit over her new film
Several days after Angelina Jolie was sued by an author claiming she illegally took his idea for her film about the Balkan war, Jolie responded Tuesday that she's never even read the man's book.
The author, a Croatian journalist named James Braddock, filed suit in an Illinois court this week alleging that he met three times with Eden Sarkic, Jolie's producer on her directorial debut, "In The Land of Blood & Honey," beginning in 2007. Braddock, who named Jolie in the suit along with several other defendants, is seeking an emergency injunction against the film's release. It is scheduled to arrive in U.S. theaters Dec. 23.
In an interview with 24 Frames on Tuesday, however, Jolie played down the lawsuit.
"It's par for the course. It happens on almost every film," she said, in a larger interview about the movie at a New York hotel.
Jolie's film, which she also has writing credit on, centers on a romance between a Bosnian Muslim woman and a Serbian army officer who form a relationship before war breaks out in the Balkans in 1991. They are divided once the war begins, with the latter eventually put in the unusual position of guarding his paramour at a brutal internment camp.
In his filing, Braddock said he corresponded by phone and via email with Sarkic and alleged that he contributed such elements as "plot and character development, and the story’s cultural significance and historical accuracy." He also said the idea of lovers divided by the war is similar to a plot line in his 2007 book, "A Soul Shattering."
Jolie acknowledged she drew inspiration from many sources, including books by journalists Peter Maass and Tom Gjelten.
"There are many books and documentaries that I did pull from. It's a combination of many people's stories," she said. "But that particular book I've never seen."
It's not the first time that the movie has kicked up some trouble. As filming began in fall 2010, Jolie faced a backlash from a Balkan women's group over the movie's cross-ethnic romance and was at one point even in danger of not being granted a permit to film in Bosnia. The permit was granted after the script was shown not to contain the controversial element--namely a romance that blossomed after a rape-- the group claimed.
Jolie said she understood where protesters were coming from but also felt hurt by their objections.
"I felt sympathy for people for whom these issues are so sensitive," she said. "But when you're coming at something because you care so much about an area, especially women in that area, as I was, and you know the themes of the film are violence against women, then to be accused of the opposite hurts. You feel a little sickened by it."
--Steven Zeitchik, reporting from New York
Photo: Angelina Jolie poses with Bill and Jane Pitt, the parents of her partner, Brad Pitt, at the New York Premiere of "In The Land Of Blood and Honey," a film she wrote and directed. Credit: Dave Allocca /Associated Press