Scarinci Hollenbeck, LLC

201-896-4100 info@sh-law.com

Similarities With Movie Villain Drive Russian Tycoon To Threaten Lawsuit

Author: Scarinci Hollenbeck, LLC|April 1, 2015

Sergei Polonsky, a property tycoon, has threatened to sue 20th Century Fox for $1 billion because of a recently-released movie villain’s notable similarities to himself.

Similarities With Movie Villain Drive Russian Tycoon To Threaten Lawsuit

Sergei Polonsky, a property tycoon, has threatened to sue 20th Century Fox for $1 billion because of a recently-released movie villain’s notable similarities to himself.

He’s not making them up either. The main villain the in the Russian-language rework “Neulovimye” (Uncatchable) is named Sergei Polyansky. The character is a wealthy businessman, according to the Moscow Times, who, after hitting a young woman with his car in the streets of Moscow, flees rather than sticking around.

Polonsky, Polyansky, what’s the difference?

The similarities don’t stop at the name and the occupation either. The filmmakers didn’t forget to add Polonsky’s distinctive curly locks to the head of their villain Polyansky, if they did indeed base their villain off of the Russian tycoon. Though he isn’t known to have fled the scene of an accident involving a young woman in Moscow, Polonsky does have a checkered legal history to say the least, and currently is reported to reside in Cambodia, a nation without an extradition agreement with his native Russia, where he is currently in some legal trouble of his own.

While Polonsky didn’t make it clear what he intends to sue for exactly, these kinds of cases have come up plenty of times in the past. For instance, years ago an Iraq War veteran filed charges after claiming Jeremy Renner’s character in “The Hurt Locker” was based on his likeness.

Sgt. Jeffery Sarver and ‘The Hurt Locker’

The veteran, Sgt. Jeffrey Sarver, claimed that the “misappropriation” of his name and likeness was a violation of his “right of publicity.” This term describes an individual’s right to control his or her name, image, likeness and other features of a person’s identity. A lawsuit over “right of publicity” generally requires the use of an individual’s name or likeness for commercial gain without his or her permission. Sarver’s case has been dismissed and appealed, but his is also slightly different than the lawsuit Polonsky intends to file.

The character’s name in “The Hurt Locker” was Sergeant First Class William James. However, Sarver did note that other events from his life were used in the movie – both he and the character from the movie worked with units tasked with discovering and disarming explosives in Iraq. Ultimately, his case was dismissed because the movie was considered a “transformative work.” Ultimately, due to the importance of the movie, the First Amendment rights of the film’s creators won out.

The situation regarding similarities between the real Polonsky and the movie character Polyansky are slightly different than Sarver’s case. Similarities between the tycoon and movie villain seem much more obvious. And though Sarver was profiled and featured in publications prior to The Hurt Locker, Polonsky seems to have a bit more long-standing celebrity than he. One thing is for sure. Don’t base any films off Polonsky in the future unless they’re sure to be transformative.

Similarities With Movie Villain Drive Russian Tycoon To Threaten Lawsuit

Author: Scarinci Hollenbeck, LLC

He’s not making them up either. The main villain the in the Russian-language rework “Neulovimye” (Uncatchable) is named Sergei Polyansky. The character is a wealthy businessman, according to the Moscow Times, who, after hitting a young woman with his car in the streets of Moscow, flees rather than sticking around.

Polonsky, Polyansky, what’s the difference?

The similarities don’t stop at the name and the occupation either. The filmmakers didn’t forget to add Polonsky’s distinctive curly locks to the head of their villain Polyansky, if they did indeed base their villain off of the Russian tycoon. Though he isn’t known to have fled the scene of an accident involving a young woman in Moscow, Polonsky does have a checkered legal history to say the least, and currently is reported to reside in Cambodia, a nation without an extradition agreement with his native Russia, where he is currently in some legal trouble of his own.

While Polonsky didn’t make it clear what he intends to sue for exactly, these kinds of cases have come up plenty of times in the past. For instance, years ago an Iraq War veteran filed charges after claiming Jeremy Renner’s character in “The Hurt Locker” was based on his likeness.

Sgt. Jeffery Sarver and ‘The Hurt Locker’

The veteran, Sgt. Jeffrey Sarver, claimed that the “misappropriation” of his name and likeness was a violation of his “right of publicity.” This term describes an individual’s right to control his or her name, image, likeness and other features of a person’s identity. A lawsuit over “right of publicity” generally requires the use of an individual’s name or likeness for commercial gain without his or her permission. Sarver’s case has been dismissed and appealed, but his is also slightly different than the lawsuit Polonsky intends to file.

The character’s name in “The Hurt Locker” was Sergeant First Class William James. However, Sarver did note that other events from his life were used in the movie – both he and the character from the movie worked with units tasked with discovering and disarming explosives in Iraq. Ultimately, his case was dismissed because the movie was considered a “transformative work.” Ultimately, due to the importance of the movie, the First Amendment rights of the film’s creators won out.

The situation regarding similarities between the real Polonsky and the movie character Polyansky are slightly different than Sarver’s case. Similarities between the tycoon and movie villain seem much more obvious. And though Sarver was profiled and featured in publications prior to The Hurt Locker, Polonsky seems to have a bit more long-standing celebrity than he. One thing is for sure. Don’t base any films off Polonsky in the future unless they’re sure to be transformative.

Firm News & Press Releases

No Aspect of the advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court. Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.