SuperAgent Ari -- sound familiar?
One of Hollywood's most powerful agents is Ari Emanuel, one of the leaders of William Morris Endeavor Entertainment. It's hard to say if he's more famous for being the acknowledged model for the fictional character Ari Gold, the foul-mouthed agent on HBO's "Entourage" played by Jeremy Piven, or for his brother, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.
Either way, Emanuel and his attorneys find it hard to believe that the real-life super agent is not the model for a new game, SuperAgent, from Irish iPhone-app development house FactorySix. In the game, which sells for $1.99 in the iTunes App store, players pretend to be "Ari," a leading Hollywood agent, with a movie-star client named Vince -- also the name of the movie-star character on "Entourage."
Citing a story from the online site TechNews that said the game's Ari was clearly based on both Ari Emanuel and Ari Gold, attorney Patricia Glaser wrote in a letter to FactorySix that the company "cannot deny that it intended to capitalize on using Mr. Emanuel's and WME's names for the Game, and possibly mislead the public into believing that Mr. Emanuel and/or WME endorse the Game." The letter tells FactorySix to "immediately cease and desist using those names in conjunction with the Game."
Ari Gold fans, don't start fretting. Emanuel has reportedly signed a waiver saying he won't sue HBO or the producers over that character, even though he's said in interviews he gets scared watching the show. That deal, though, predates SuperAgent and would not apply to FactorySix's Ari.
In an e-mail, FactorySix co-founder Oisin Hanrahan said, "The character's name is not derived from Ari Emanuel or Ari Gold." He said he is seeking a partnership with HBO and that he's offered to drop WME from the game.
Given that FactorySix has issued press releases announcing the legal threat, it's hard to believe the company is too distraught. Instead, Hanrahan says in the release, "This game is based on Hollywood, not one very important person in Hollywood, and simply because Mr. Emanuel identifies with the lead character does not mean it is based on him. We are taking it as compliment that we got the game so close to being real."
Maybe the two sides should, as Ari Gold would say, "hug it out."
-- Dan Fost