Scarlett Johansson wins damages in book character lawsuit

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Updated July 3, 2014:

Apparently, Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson isn't particularly flattered by imitation.

Johansson was awarded about $3,600 Cdn. in damages after suing a French author for including a character in his novel that is described as bearing a remarkable resemblance to the Lost in Translation and The Avengers actress.

This week, a Paris court told writer Gregoire Delacourt to pay her the money for his "hurtful and demeaning" depiction of the Johansson doppelgänger in his book The First Thing We Look At, according to a report in the Telegraph.

Johansson had been seeking more than $70,000 Cdn. in her lawsuit. Delacourt's book, which has sold more than 100,000 copies since being published in 2013, follows a garage mechanic who meets a beautiful woman he mistakes for Johansson. The woman engages in a series of sexual relationships.

The actress also requested an injunction to prevent the novel from being translated or adapted into a film, but that was thrown out by the court.

Delacourt told French daily newspaper Le Figaro in 2013 that he was "stunned" after learning about the lawsuit. In his novel, he also describes the main male character as looking like Ryan Gosling and compares his book to Gene Hackman. A prominent theme in the The First Thing We Look At is the power that attractiveness and beauty wields in our society, and that he chose to mention Johansson because she's considered one of the most beautiful women alive today.

"This corresponds with the fantasies of our times. All these famous people live with us," he said in an interview. "But I wrote a book of fiction. My character is not Scarlett Johansson. It is Jeanine Foucaprez!"


Naturally, this incident has sparked discussion about the creative license authors take when writing. Do you think Johansson has a point, or are you on the side of Delacourt? Let us know in the comments below.


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