Angelina Jolie in Hot Water Over Her Film Project?
Angelina Jolie in 2010. Photo by Gage Skidmore. Wikimedia CommonsYahoo! Contributor Network
Angelina Jolie has reportedly taken on yet another nebulous appointment as a “Special Representative” for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. While Jolie’s role will encompass such poorly-defined duties as “help resolve the fate of 2.7 million Afghan refugees,” it’s another project altogether that could place the actress in hot water.
Jolie will make her writing and directorial debut with her upcoming film, “In the Land of Blood and Honey,” which is scheduled for release on December 23. The film, a wartime love story between a Bosnian prisoner and her Serbian captor, has been decried as “ignorant” by the Women Victims of War, an organization of women who were victims of rape or other sexual violence during the Bosnian War. After facing protests and temporarily losing her permit to film in Sarajevo, Angelina now faces claims of copyright infringement, as Bosnian author James J. Braddock has accused Jolie of plagiarizing his previously published book, The Soul Shattering. Braddock also suggests that the actress has “totally miss[ed] the truth and core of that genocidal war against Bosnia and her people.”
According to Braddock, Jolie has yet to respond to his requests for communication or offer any substantive explanation for how she developed the screenplay. While our hope that Jolie will come clean with a “Working Girl,” Tess McGill-style explanation of her thought process is apparently too much to ask, here’s a look at what we do know about her spuriously-written film.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Jolie claimed that she wrote the script while she “had the flu.” In a grandiose statement that smacks of Gilderoy Lockhart, the actress said, “I had to be quarantined from the children for two days. I was in the attic of a house in France. I was isolated, pacing. I don’t watch TV and I wasn’t reading anything. So I started writing. I went from the beginning to the end.” Sure you did, Angie. Hey, all you screenwriters who spend months or even years honing your finely-crafted screenplays: apparently, you’re doin’ it wrong. Break with a Banshee, anyone?
Another strange fact that raises more than a few questions is the book entitled The Land of Blood and Honey (the same title, but without the “in”), which was published in 2010. This book, by Israeli military historian Martin Van Creveld, outlines the history of Israel from “its Zionist beginnings at the end of the nineteenth century through the past sixty, tumultuous years.” Funny that Jolie’s film about a similarly war-torn country should have such a similar title.
Finally, after taking such pains to come across as transparent and in accord with the Bosnian and Serbian people regarding her film, it appears that the actress didn’t live up to her promise. In her Vanity Fair interview, Jolie claimed to have sent the script to “reporters and writers, people of Serbian and Bosnian nationality who’d been through the war,” saying that she “was gauging the accuracy….If they said no, I wouldn’t have done it.” The trouble is, they did say no, and she did it anyway. In addition to the Women Victims of War, the Croatian Women’s Association also publicly condemned Jolie’s “bizarre ‘love’ story,” saying “The mighty from the international world of politics and arts play a significant role in interpreting the history of our abused homeland, as well as her present and future. We hope that [Braddock's efforts will] prevent yet another lie about the war in this region (through “artistic interpretation”) from becoming the “truth.”
Despite her claims of when and where she wrote the story, Jolie’s refusal to discuss how she came up with the actual idea for the plot casts aspersion on her authorship. Since “two days” seems to be an improbable timeframe for writing an entire script, did Jolie come up with the idea, then have others complete or doctor her work? If that’s the case, could the so-called “ghost writers” have been influenced by knowledge of Braddock’s original book, resulting in an indirect theft of his ideas?
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