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Friday, 10 May, 2002, 17:00 GMT 18:00 UK
Perfect Storm lawsuit dismissed
George Clooney in The Perfect Storm
Clooney plays Captain Tyne in The Perfect Storm
A judge has thrown out a lawsuit brought by the family of a man portrayed by George Clooney in the film The Perfect Storm.

The legal action was brought against Warner Bros by the relatives who said their likenesses were used without permission.

The suit also alleged the film company falsely portrayed Captain Billy Tyne, Clooney's character, as maniacal and reckless.

But Judge Anne Conway dismissed the suit before it was due to go to trial on 3 June.

"We are extremely pleased with the court's ruling in this important case," Warner Bros said in a statement.

The Perfect Storm
The crew of the Andrea Gail all died in the storm
"The plaintiff's theory that Warner Bros needed their permission to make The Perfect Storm - and were required to tell the tragic story of the Andrea Gail the way plaintiffs wanted it told - profoundly threatens free speech," it added.

The complainants, including the captain's ex-wife Jodi Tyne and his daughters Billy-Jo Francis and Erica, plan to appeal the decision.


"Over the past year, we all expected this to end up in the appeals court at some point," said their lawyer Ned McLeod.

"The issues are still very ripe and important to all of us on rights of privacy and not having our lives exploited in a picture like this in a fictitious way."

The family had been seeking damages from the studio and an injunction to prevent the film being further distributed.

The movie, based on the novel by Sebastian Junger, has taken $330m (225m) worldwide with video and DVD sales proving highly profitable.

The Perfect Storm retold the story of a ship caught in a violent storm that struck New England in 1991, leaving all its crew dead.

The family claimed the movie went "way beyond anything appearing in Junger's book" in order to boost audiences and profits.

At the time of its release in 2000, Warner acknowledged some elements had been embellished for dramatic effect.

Warner Bros has called the dismissal of the lawsuit a victory for "for all writers, artists and filmmakers who may now continue to find inspiration in historical events without having their creative visions censored and controlled by anyone with a connection to those events".

See also:

03 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Clooney wins box office fight
20 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Clooney hits Birmingham
02 May 00 | UK
Hollywood fights the facts
30 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Legal storm over Clooney drama
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