Just how real is The Hurt Locker?
Even more real than the makers of the gritty Oscar frontrunner have let on, according to a lawsuit being prepared on behalf of Iraq war vet Master Sgt. Jeffrey S. Sarver.
Per a press release from Sarver's attorney, Geoffrey Fieger, the multimillion-dollar suit says that screenwriter Mark Boal was embedded as a journalist with Sarver's unit in Iraq and witnessed numerous incidents that ended up in the film, which stars Jeremy Renner as Ranger Sgt. First Class Will James, aka bomb disposal expert "Blaster One."
And Will James is obviously based on Sarver, whose call signal in combat was "Blaster One," the complaint alleges. So why do The Hurt Locker's credits state that the film's characters are entirely fictional, that any similarities to real-life incidents are coincidental, etc.?
Because Boal and the film's producers conspired to cheat Sarver out of his due compensation, the lawsuit claims.
The paperwork will be filed in federal court in Sarver's native Michigan on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Summit Entertainment lost no time in responding to Fieger's announcement.
"Ever since Summit acquired the distribution rights to the finished feature film...we have been proud to showcase the film to audiences in the U.S.," read a statement released to E! News. "The film is a story about heroes depicting a fictional account of what brave men and women do on the battlefield.
"We have no doubt that Master Sgt. Sarver served his country with honor and commitment risking his life for a greater good, but we distributed the film based on a fictional screenplay written by Mark Boal. We hope for a quick resolution to the claims made by Master Sgt. Sarver."
Honestly, despite scooping up award after award, it seems as if The Hurt Locker just can't win these days.
While praised by critics, Defense Department officials (including Secretary Robert Gates) and plenty of servicemen and women for being so authentic and viscerally affecting, there are plenty of naysayers.
Some veterans and active members of the armed forces have stated that the Kathryn Bigelow-directed film is not at all an accurate portrayal of combat and that it makes U.S. troops look like renegades and adrenaline junkies who go about their business half-cocked.
Not that any of this per se is going to stop The Hurt Locker from topping Avatar at the end of the night, but sour grapes are never tasty.
And as it turns out, there will be one less Hurt Locker fan cheering from the audience.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced Tuesday that one of the drama's producers—while still being eligible to share in a Best Picture win—has been banned from attending the ceremony this Sunday because he went around emailing members of the Academy, asking them to please vote for his movie while bad-mouthing another contender.
Which is really pretty hilarious, when you think about it.
"Nicolas Chartier has been denied attendance at the 82nd Academy Awards® as a penalty for violating Academy campaigning standards," spokeswoman Leslie Unger said in a statement.
She unfortunately didn't disclose which other film Chartier was talking crap about.
Can't wait for the Oscars? Get a head start on the festivities in our Red Carpet section.