Scarlett Johansson has won her lawsuit against French writer Grégoire Delacourt over his novel “La première chose qu’on regard” (not yet published in English, the title translates roughly as “The First Thing You Look At.”)
In the book, a mechanic who doesn’t have much luck with women is stunned to see Johansson stride into his garage. Turns out she’s not actually Johansson -- she’s a look-alike model. She laments being seen as a sex object, has two affairs, several adventures and comes to an unfortunate end.
A French judge has agreed with Johansson (the real one) that the book is defamatory. He dismissed a second claim that it fraudulently exploited her image, celebrity and name. Johansson was awarded about $3,400, a fraction of the almost $68,000 in damages she had claimed.
When the lawsuit was announced, Delacourt was stunned. “I thought she’d get in contact to ask me to go for a coffee with her,” he told the Guardian. “I didn’t write a novel about a celebrity.... I wrote a real love story and a homage to feminine beauty, especially interior beauty.”
Delacourt is a bestselling author whose previous novel, “My List of Desires,” has been translated into 47 languages.
“It’s stupefying, especially as I’m not sure she’s even read the novel since it hasn’t been translated yet,” he said.
Emmanuelle Allibert, a representative for the book’s publisher, JC Lattès, described the suit as “crazy. We have never known anything like it. It is all the more surprising for the fact that the novel is not even about Scarlett Johansson. It is about a woman who is Scarlet Johansson’s double.”
Like passing notes in class; I’m @paperhaus on Twitter.