Can Hollywood scriptwriters base a story on their own family?

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Can Hollywood scriptwriters base a story on their own family?

Thu Jun 03, 2010 @ 10:12AM PST

Finding_amanda By Eriq Gardner

A Nevada woman claims her privacy was violated when her uncle — a successful Hollywood scriptwriter — authored a movie allegedly based on her own personal issues. 

Alix Daily is suing Peter and Leslie Tolan, Capacity Pictures, and Creative Artists Agency over the 2008 film, "Finding Amanda," starring Matthew Broderick and Brittany Snow.

The plaintiff is the niece of Peter Tolan, whose credits include "Analyze This," "Just Like Heaven," and "My Fellow Americans."

Daily claims in her lawsuit that she suffered from sensitive medical and psychological issues that caused members of her family to stage a real-life intervention. 

Based on this episode, Tolan allegedly created his autobiographical story. "Finding Amanda" is about a Hollywood screenwriter who goes to Las Vegas to find his 20-year-old niece, who has become a hooker there, and try to get her to come home and enter a rehab facility. 

The complaint says much of the dialogue, facts, and events really happened, and that the character of Amanda looked, dressed, and behaved like Daily. The film's producers allegedly did little to disguise the story was based on real events.

Claiming she never consented, Daily is suing for infliction of emotional distress and invasion of privacy.

UPDATE: Here's the complaint.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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