Scarlett Johansson sues writer over novel that 'steals her name and fame'

2014-05-16 09:54

Paris - US actress Scarlett Johansson sued a French writer for €50 000 on Wednesday, saying he stole her image by drawing on her persona for a character in his latest novel.

La premiere chose qu'on regarde (The First Thing You Look At) by Gregoire Delacourt features a small-time French model whose life is governed by the fact that she is a dead ringer for 28-year-old Johansson.

The novel, which was published in March 2013 by JC Lattes, has sold about 100 000 copies. Johansson's attorney Vincent Toledano told a Paris court that the novel violated Johansson's image by using her name and fame without her consent and making false allegations about her private life.

Delacourt's lawyer Anne Veil rejected the complaint as "completely scandalous", saying Delacourt is "not a paparazzi" and had a right to creative freedom.

Neither Johansson, who is engaged to French journalist Romain Dauriac, nor the author attended the hearing. In an interview with Le Figaro newspaper last year, Delacourt, whose novel The List of My Desires sold more than 450 000 copies, said he was "stunned by the lawsuit".

“One thing is certain that I in no way denigrated her. On the contrary, it's more of a tribute to her," he said, adding, "The novel talks about the tyranny of appearances and the real beauty of women. ... Scarlett Johansson corresponds to the archetype of beauty today."

The ruling in the case was set for 2 July.