Hoffman, who earned an Oscar nomination for his role as a cross-dresser, says he did not give the magazine permission to use his image--taken from the film's poster--in a Hollywood fashion story. He filed a multimillion-dollar suit in Los Angeles Wednesday, claiming to be "converted into an involuntary clothing model without pay and, of course, without his consent or even his knowledge." A Los Angeles spokesman did not return phone calls asking for comment today.
The magazine seems to have the First Amendment on its side. The altered Hoffman appeared in a March fashion spread called "Grand Illusions." The magazine took scenes from 16 classic movies--including Gone With the Wind, Creature from the Black Lagoon and Jailhouse Rock--and, with the help of a computer, added designer duds to the stars. Such digitally altered hijinks are a staple of Spy and other satirical publications, and generally protected by the courts as parody.
But Hoffman's lawyer says this case is different. "If they simply showed Mr. Hoffman wearing different clothes then it would be considered parody," said Bert Fields. "I don't think it's a parody. It's an advertisement. There is information about the designers and a shopping guide in the back of the magazine...Simply by making the ads funny does not constitute protected speech."
The lawsuit asserts the actor's name and likeness is "an extremely valuable commercial right for which Hoffman, had he consented, would have been paid a very large sum of money."
Hoffman reckons his mug is worth at least $5 million--that's how much he's seeking in compensatory damages from the magazine's owners Capital Cities/ABC and Fairchild Publications. Hoffman also wants unspecified punitive damages, considering "the vast wealth and income of ABC and its sole owner, the Walt Disney Co."
If Hoffman's this peeved over the faux fashion spread, we can only imagine how ticked Jane Russell must be. Los Angeles altered the memorable image of the screen siren reclined on a haystack from 1943's The Outlaw. The new Russell is shown wearing a Versace top--innocent enough--but has sprouted a set of perky, airbrushed nipples.