Ex-Arms Dealer Sues Over ‘War Dogs’ Flick

     (CN) – A one-time gunrunner turned author claims in court actor Bradley Cooper, director Todd Phillips and Warner Brothers Entertainment stole his autobiography to make the upcoming comedy “War Dogs.”
     In a lawsuit filed in Tampa Federal Court, Efraim Diveroli, through his company Incarcerated Entertainment, claims the defendants acted in concert to defraud him and steal a manuscript used as the basis of the movie.
     Diveroli, 30, gained notoriety in 2011 after Guy Lawson wrote a Rolling Stone article about his exploits after he and a friend fetched a nearly $300-million Pentagon contract to supply Afghanistan forces with guns and ammunition.
     Described in the piece as “stoner kids from Miami Beach,” the two were suddenly thrust into lives as international arms dealers. That is, until the Department of Defense discovered the delivered ammunition was made in China — a breach of the government contract.
     Diverloi was indicted for lying about the origin of the bullets and ultimately served four years in prison.
     Lawson later turned the story into a book “Arms and the Dudes.” Diveroli did, too, writing an even longer manuscript called “Once A Gunrunner” while in prison and filing a copyright. According to the lawsuit, the then-incarcerated Diveroli had a business partner shop the story in Hollywood in the hopes of selling its exclusive movie rights.
     In the meantime, Todd Phillips, best known for directing “Old School” and “The Hangover II,” was writing a screenplay for Warner Brothers based on Lawson’s book and personal correspondence between the writer and Diveroli.
     Diveroli claims that while his partner shopped the movie rights, a Hollywood lawyer expressed interest and gained access to Diveroli’s manuscript.
     Without Diveroli’s permission, the lawyer gave the manuscript to a Warner Brother’s associate, who then forwarded it to Phillips — violating a non-disclosure agreement, according to the lawsuit.
     The complaint states Phillips re-wrote the “War Dogs” screenplay based on the new manuscript and formed a production company with Bradley Cooper to make the film.
     After filming “War Dogs,” Diveroli says Warner Brothers continued to use his photo to promote the movie and stole taglines from his manuscript.
     Robert Thornburg, who represents Diveroli, said the movie covers more than a “vague idea” about Diveroli’s life, but includes details not found in the original Rolling Stone article.
     “None of it was in the public domain,” said Thornburg of the Miami firm Allen, Dyer, Doppelt, Milbrath & Gilchrist. “It’s had to fill a two-and-a-half hour movie with a five or six page article in Rolling Stone.”
     “You have one chance to tell your story and now he lost that chance,” he said.
     Thornburg did not give any number on damages.
     “We want what’s fair,” he said “We are not here for a windfall.”
     A Warner Brothers spokesperson declined comment.
     “War Dogs,” starring Jonah Hill, will hit theaters in August.

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