War Hero 'Hurt' by 'The Hurt Locker'

Army bomb sergeant sues makers of Oscar-nominated film for stealing identity.

ByABC News
March 3, 2010, 1:13 PM

Mar. 3, 2010— -- A U.S. Army bomb disposal expert is suing the makers of "The Hurt Locker," claiming that the film's lead character is based on him and that he's been cheated out of "financial participation in the film."

At a press conference today in Southfield, Mich., Master Sgt. Jeffrey Sarver told reporters that he was "hurt after being cut out of 'The Hurt Locker,' no pun intended."

Sarver's attorney Geoffrey Fieger, famous for his defense of Dr. Jack "Doctor Death" Kevorkian, filed the multi-million dollar lawsuit in New Jersey. The suit names the producers, director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal.

Sarver told reporters that Boal spent 30 days embedded with him and his explosive ordinance disposal unit and subsequently wrote a Playboy magazine article about him.

Boal then adapted the article for the screenplay, making the main character Sgt. Will James, who is played by Jeremy Renner. But Boal and the producers claim that the characters portrayed in the film are all fictional.

Sarver, however, said the film details at least a dozen of his experiences, including placing unexploded bombs under his bed and showering in his uniform.

Sarver's nickname Blaster One became the lead character's nickname. And the phrase "The Hurt Locker" was coined by Sarver, who said it's a psychological place that soldiers go when they've have a bad day or lost someone on their unit.

Fieger told ABCNews.com that Sarver wasn't aware that his identity had been appropriated for the film until after the movie was released. "They never approached him before," he said.

Fieger said he and his client waited until after Oscar voting closed to file the lawsuit. The film is nominated for nine Oscars, including best picture, best director and best screenplay. Renner is also nominated for best actor.