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Prostitute Sues Over Film Based On Own Life

Posted on June 7 2010 12:00 pm
Walter Hudson is a political commentator and co-founder of Minnesota's North Star Tea Party Patriots, a statewide educational organization. He runs a blog entitled Fightin Words. He also contributes to True North, a hub of Minnesotan conservative commentary. Follow his work via Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
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Cinematical reports a woman whose real-life story was translated to the big screen in 2008’s Finding Amanda is suing her uncle, who wrote and directed the film, “for the mental and emotional distress she’s suffered by being featured as a character.” Alex Daily was the basis for a character whose uncle travels to Las Vegas to stage an intervention to end her prostitution. Apparently, the portrayal hit a little too close to home.

Daily alleges that [Peter] Tolan — [the uncle] — did little to hide the fact that it was based on her life. Court documents claim that “much of the dialogue, facts, and events really happened,” and the character of Amanda “looked, dressed, and behaved like Daily.” They also assert that the producers did little to hide the fact that the story was based on real events. Daily was never consulted on any of this and feels her privacy has been violated.

On its face, it seems highly unlikely Daily’s concern is truly privacy. Author Alison Nastasi elaborates:

I’m no lawyer, but the question that comes to mind here is if Daily — who isn’t a celebrity or involved in Hollywood — was troubled by being recognized as a character in the film, won’t suing draw even more attention to it? The names of the characters in the film were changed and it seems incredibly unlikely that the average viewer would ever have made the connection between Snow’s character, Amanda, and Ms. Daily.

One would need to know Daily and the details of her personal history in order to connect the film to her. Even then, they would have to have seen the film – which virtually no one did. Finding Amanda’s widest release was on 13 screens. Its lifetime worldwide gross was less than $80,000.

How much harm can a prostitute’s character take? The Courthouse News Service reports, “Daily wants at least $20,000 in compensatory and punitive damages.”

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