Jessica Alba is not feeling particularly playful about her unwitting role as a Playboy cover girl.
The Sin City star, whose bikini-clad bod graces the cover of the nudie mag's March issue, is threatening to sue the publication for using her image for commercial purposes without her consent and causing "immeasurable harm" to her reputation and career.
Earlier this week, Alba's legal team at celeb-friendly firm Lavely & Singer fired off a strongly worded legal missive to Playboy Enterprises, accusing Hugh Hefner et al of making it seem like she appears in a "nude or semi-nude pictorial" within the pages of the magazine.
In the letter, available for viewing at the Smoking Gun Website, Alba's attorney, Brian Wolf, claims that the actress was approached by the magazine about posing for photos in connection with an article on Hollywood's 25 sexiest celebrities, but that she refused the offer and denied Playboy permission to use her picture.
Despite Alba's flat-out rejection, her lawyer alleges that Playboy went ahead and obtained a publicity photo of the Into the Blue star under false pretenses by telling Columbia Pictures that the actress had approved the use of the photo, which then wound up on the cover of the bunny-eared publication.
According to Wolf's letter, Alba's outrage stems in part from the potential injustice visited upon Playboy readers who might be duped into purchasing the plastic-sealed magazine because of the misleading insinuation that she trades her bathing suit for her birthday suit within its pages.
"In featuring Ms. Alba's photograph on the cover of Playboy's March issue, it is clear that Playboy's intent was to create a false belief and/or expectation among the public that Ms. Alba voluntarily appeared in the nude, or semi-nude and that a revealing pictorial of her in contained in Playboy's March issue," Wolf fumes.
The magazine countered with a statement explaining that Alba was selected for the cover after she received the most votes in a poll on the 25 sexiest celebrities.
"Many celebrities have appeared on the cover of Playboy, but not nude, including Candace Bergan, Paris Hilton, Raquel Welch, Brooke Shields, Goldie Hawn, Claudia Schiffer and Jerry Seinfeld," a Playboy spokesperson stated.
Be that as it may, Wolf wants Playboy to "cease and desist" from distributing the offending issue of the magazine and shell out an as-yet undetermined monetary settlement to Alba to compensate her for the damage wrought upon her "good name, reputation and career."
He also requests that Playboy turn over any profits from the sale of its Alba issue to the reluctant cover girl.
The magazine's allegedly unauthorized use of Alba's photo also earned a stern rebuke from Sony Pictures' legal department, which expressed "dismay and anger over the outrageous, unethical behavior utilized by Playboy personnel" to obtain the cover shot.
While Sony has reserved the right to take legal action against the magazine, for now, the studio simply wants an apology and the assurance that Playboy won't resort to similar shenanigans in the future.
When she's not busy defending her modesty, Alba has a busy production slate ahead of her, as she prepares to return for sequels to both The Fantastic Four and Sin City.
She recently wrapped filming on the upcoming thrilled Awake, in which she stars opposite Hayden Christensen. The film is slated for a fall release.