Angelina Jolie’s directorial debut In The Land of Blood and Honey has yet to hit theaters, but is already being targeted in a copyright infringement lawsuit. Croatian journalist James Braddock alleges Jolie adapted much of her plot from his 2007 book The Soul Shattering. Braddock alleges he met with one of Jolie’s producers on the film several times in 2007 and 2008 to discuss adapting his book into a movie.
His complaint alleges both works are set in wartorn Bosnia and Herzegovina and feature a main female character who is captured, imprisoned and raped by soldiers, as well as a Serbian camp commander who falls in love with her and helps her escape. However, in an interview with the LA Times, Jolie denied ever having read his book and said of the suit, “It’s par for the course. It happens on almost every film.” In the second installment of our series, The Legal Lady lays out both plots for you and lets you be the judge, was it copyright infringement or mere coincidence?
The Soul Shattering
According to Braddock’s site, the novel tells the “unique story of the rescue of a woman, a Croatian-Bosnian named Mirna, from the Serbian-controlled concentration camp near Sarajevo by a deputy commander of the camp, a Montenegrin, Ljuban.” Ljuban “rescued the victim and was killed by his own people, even though his father was such an important figure. He was obviously a man of high moral principles who decided to sacrifice his own life to save the lives of Mirna and her family.” Braddock adds, “This is a story about love, respect, sacrifice, and hope versus hatred, murder, torture, organized rape, and evil.”
In The Land of Blood and Honey
According to the site Coming Soon, the movie “tells the story of Danijel and Ajla, two people from different sides of a brutal ethnic conflict. Danijel, a soldier fighting for the Serbs, and Ajla, a Bosnian held captive in the camp he oversees, knew each other before the war, and could have found love with each other. But as the armed conflict takes hold of their lives, their relationship grows darker, their motives and connection to one another ambiguous, their allegiances uncertain.” The summary adds, the movie “portrays the incredible emotional, moral and physical toll that the war exerts both on individuals and people as a whole, and the terrible consequences that stem from the lack of political will to intervene in a society stricken with conflict.”
Update: Braddock has withdrawn his motion for a temporary restraining order to prevent the December 23rd release of the film. He must file a brief with Illinois federal court by Tuesday to explain why the case should proceed in Illinois, where the judge says the connection to the jurisdiction is “minimal at best,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. Judge will move likely move the case to California.