SANTA MONICA (CN) – An Oregon man claims Lions Gate Films used his face four times in the movie “The Next Three Days,” falsely depicting him as “a wanted fugitive along with other known or alleged terrorists or fugitives, including Osama Bin Laden.” Bilal Ahmed claims Lions Gate also used his image in the trailer for the Russell Crowe flick, which has grossed more than $51 million.
Ahmed says that since he “was informed by friends and associates who immediately recognized him, that he was depicted in the movie as a criminal fugitive wanted by federal authorities … [he] does not feel comfortable wearing his hair and facial hair as depicted in the movie for fear of greater connection between the movie and him. Plaintiff’s future gainful employment has been impaired in relation to potential employers that might make the ‘wanted fugitive’ connection portrayed in the movie.”
Ahmed sued Lions Gate and Hwy 61 Films LLC for appropriation of his name or likeness and placing him in a false light.
“The Next Three Days” is a 2010 remake of a 2008 French film “Pour Elle,” which was based on the true story of a French woman who was convicted of killing her boss. Her husband breaks her out of prison and they flee to South America.
Ahmed says: “Defendants produced and distributed a for-profit film entitled ‘The Next Three Days’ in which plaintiff was depicted as a wanted fugitive along with other known or alleged terrorists or fugitives, including Osama Bin Laden.
“Plaintiff is not, nor at the time of the film’s release was, a wanted fugitive, but is currently working and living in Oregon.
“An image of plaintiff was depicted for several seconds in multiple screen shots in the movie, which were also used extensively in advertising the movie in the trailer for the movie. Beginning at 1 hour 54 minutes and 52 seconds into the movie through 1 hour 56 minutes and 25 seconds into the movie, plaintiff’s image appears four different times.
“Plaintiff was informed by friends and associates who immediately recognized him that he was depicted in the movie as a criminal fugitive wanted by federal authorities. Such unauthorized use has damages and continues to damage plaintiff’s reputation.”
Ahmed wants his image removed from the movie and the trailers and all copies of the movie with his image in it destroyed.
For appropriation of his likeness, he seeks $51,000 plus 9 percent annual interest from the date of the movie’s release as a “reasonable share of defendants’ profits”.
He also seeks costs and attorney’s fees and $250,000 in economic and noneconomic damages.
He is represented by Anthony McNamer, of Portland, Ore.