It's a common practice. You make a movie and nobody gives a crap. Then, years later, one of your supporting cast members strikes it big and all of a sudden your movie has a marketing hook. You fire up the ol' Photoshop, churn out a new cover with "Actor A's" face all over it and BAM! You trick people into buying it. It's an industry standard, and it's been happening for decades to films like Hangmen, which now has Sandra Bullock's face all over the DVD cover even though her character is barely worth mentioning the plot synopsis.
Now it's happening again, and Jesse Eisenberg ain't standing for it. The Social Network star made a brief appearance in Camp Hell, a thriller shot in 2007 (but released in 2010) set at a Christian youth retreat. And now his face is all over the cover. Take a look.
Jesse Eisenberg was in that movie for less than five minutes. Hollywood Reporter has announced that he's suing Lionsgate and Grindstone Entertainment. Normally this sort of lawsuit settles out of court, but normally this lawsuit is filed by someone who isn't an Oscar-nominated star. If Eisenberg is really trying to make a point, he could fight tooth and nail and strike a blow for misrepresented actors everywhere. And that seems to be what he's trying to do, beyond the $3 million in damages he's demanding.
Eisenberg's lawsuit is ostensibly over his publicity rights, claiming that the makers of Camp Hell used his likeness in a prominent manner without his consent. The legalities of his original agreement with the filmmakers are unknown at this point. But the wording of the document, according to Hollywood Reporter, makes a big deal about the false advertising involved. It claims that the producers are "continuing to perpetrate a fraud on the public" and are using Eisenberg's likeness to "fraudulently induce his fans to purchase a copy of the DVD of the Picture."
Well, yeah. They are. That's the whole point of advertising, isn't it? This is a lot like that whole Drive lawsuit from a few months ago, except Eisenberg has an actual legal argument on this hands. Will he take this lawsuit all the way? Will it change the way the DVD distribution industry operates? Or will he take the $3 million and clam up?
Jesse… We say go for it.
CraveOnline will be back with more industry madness once Sandra Bullock turns this into a class action.