U.S. District Court Judge Jacqueline Nguyen has dismissed a lawsuit against the filmmakers behind Oscar Best Picture winner The Hurt Locker that alleged they improperly used the likeness of an actual soldier, Sgt. Jeffrey Sarver. Sarver filed the suit before the Oscars, claiming screenwriter Mark Boal based the film — and its lead character, played by Jeremy Renner — on him and presented him in a false light. Today, Nguyen disagreed, saying “the value of The Hurt Locker unquestionably derived from the creativity and skill of the writers, directors, and producers who conceived, wrote, directed, edited, and produced it.”
Boal was embedded in Sarver’s unit in 2004 and wrote about him and other bomb-disposal experts in Playboy magazine, a story that became the basis for the film. Said Boal today: “The Hurt Locker was inspired by many soldiers I met and interviewed during my time reporting in Iraq and elsewhere. It was a disservice to all of those other soldiers for Sgt. Sarver to claim that he was the only soldier that was the basis for the hero of the film.”
The lawyer for Sarver, who was ordered to pay the defendant’s attorneys’ fees, said they will appeal the ruling.