CHICAGO (CN) – A Croatian journalist claims Angelina Jolie stole the plot from his book to make “In the Land of Blood and Honey,” Jolie’s directorial debut, about a love affair amid rape and abuse during the Bosnian Civil War.
James Braddock sued Jolie and the film’s producers, GK Films and FilmDistrict, both of California; Scout Film, of Bosniia-Herzegovina; and executive producer Edin Sarkic, of Sarajevo, in Federal Court.
Braddock claims the defendants copied “key plot elements, themes, characters, events, sequences and settings” of “The Soul Shattering,” his 2007 book about the abuse and rape suffered by the women and children of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the hands of Serbian soldiers.
Braddock, who lives in Zagreb, Croatia, describes himself as an internationally known author and journalist who worked as a reporter and commentator covering the Serbian attacks during the Bosnian War. “The Soul Shattering” was published in 2007 in the native language of Croatia.
Braddock claims Jolie and producer Edin Sarkic had access to his work before they made “In the Land of Blood and Honey.”
Braddock says he traveled to Sarajevo in December 2007, to promote “The Soul Shattering” and to raise awareness of Bosnian war victims’ organizations.
He says that Sarkic, an executive producer of Scout Film’s Bosnian region, approached him expressing interest in his book.
“From March 2008 through November 2008, plaintiff and defendant Sarkic met at least three times to discuss details of the subject work, including plot and character development and the story’s cultural significance and historical accuracy,” the complaint states.
“These conversations evolved into pursuing the possibility of creating a motion picture from the subject work, which defendant Sarkic would produce through defendant Scout Film.
“Subsequent to these meetings, through 2008 and 2009, plaintiff and defendant Sarkic communicated extensively over the telephone and through text messages in attempts to continue the conversation about potentially creating a motion picture of the subject work.
“In or about August 2009, plaintiff emailed LaToya King at defendant Jolie’s organization, Make it Right, and proposed a collaboration for ‘Bridge of Love’ whereby defendant Jolie would partner with plaintiff to build villages of houses across desolate cities, including Sarajevo and New Orleans, linking the continents, cities, and people of different racial and cultural backgrounds. Plaintiff sent this email without knowing of any partnership or communications between defendant Sarkic and defendant Jolie.”
Jolie began filming “In the Land of Blood and Honey” in 2010 in the Bosnian region, with Starkic and Scout Films as the film’s producers, Braddock says.
He claims the book and film share a raft of similarities: “The subject work’s main female character is subject to continuous abuse and rape by soldiers and officers in the camp. In addition to being raped continuously by soldiers and officers, she is forced to become a servant at the camp’s headquarters, a duty assumed by very few of the captives. The motion picture’s main female character is also subject to continuous rape by soldiers and officers in the camp and subsequently becomes a servant at camp headquarters.
“In the subject work, the main male character struggles with the polarity of his emotions and his military duty; he loves the main female character but is expected to fulfill his duties as a high-ranking member of the army force. Amidst his struggle, he helps her escape from the camp. In the motion picture, the main male character also struggles with his love for the main female character and his duties as a high-ranking member of the army force. Like in the subject work, the main male character in the motion picture helps the main female character escape this camp.”
Braddock seeks more than $50,000 in statutory damages for copyright infringement and an injunction to stop the release of Jolie’s movie.
He is represented by Kelly Saindon with Belongia Shapiro & Franklin.