U.S. bomb expert says "Hurt Locker" stole his story

Thu Mar 4, 2010 9:25am EST
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By Bernie Woodall

SOUTHFIELD, Mich (Reuters) - A U.S. Army sergeant who is suing the makers of Oscar-nominated film "The Hurt Locker" said on Wednesday he felt betrayed because they stole his story.

Master Sergeant Jeffrey S. Sarver, 38, has filed a lawsuit claiming that the film makers turned an account of his tense experiences defusing bombs in Iraq into the highly regarded action-thriller without his consent.

Wearing blue jeans and a blue pullover sweatshirt with wrap-around sunglasses pushed up to his crew cut, Sarver told a news conference he would have been happy to serve as a consultant to scriptwriter Mark Boal and director Kathryn Bigelow but was never asked.

"I felt a little bit left out," Sarver said. "I didn't know my rights."

Just after Sarver filed his suit on Tuesday, the film's distributor, Summit Entertainment, issued a statement reiterating the movie's claim that it is a "fictional account" about soldiers in the battlefield.

Sarver was the subject of a 2005 article in Playboy magazine under the title "The Man in the Bomb Suit."

The article was written by Boal, screenwriter for "The Hurt Locker," based on his observations as an embedded reporter with Sarver's bomb-defusing squad in Iraq in 2004.

Sarver's lawyer, Geoffrey Fieger, said the main character in the film, Will James, was clearly a representation of his client, down to his personal call signal "Blaster One."   Continued...

<p>Actor Jeremy Renner is shown in a scene from the film "The Hurt Locker" in this undated publicity photo released to Reuters February 2, 2010. REUTERS/Summit Entertainment/Handout</p>