Man Sues Claiming 'Hangover II' Ripped Off His Life Story (Exclusive)
Was The Hangover Part II inspired by the tale of an American who experienced a rocky honeymoon in Asia? Sounds laughable, yet that's exactly what a California man is claiming in a new lawsuit against makers of the blockbuster comedy.
Ever since Warner Bros. released Hangover II in theaters in May, the studio has been attempting to put to bed all sorts of strange disputes. There was the tattoo artist who claimed in a since-settled lawsuit that the film had infringed a copyrighted tattoo originally created for boxer Mike Tyson. There's the still-pending lawsuit from a stunt man who allegedly suffered brain injuries during the making of the film.
Now Michael Alan Rubin says the movie itself was stolen from a script he wrote that described his Asian adventures. Rubin is representing himself in this case, so it's hard to take his allegations too seriously. Nevertheless, he has a good story to tell.
According Rubin's federal lawsuit, filed last week in Calfornia, he married a Japanese woman named Tamayo in 2007 in Japan. Together, the couple honeymooned in Thailand and India where differences started arising over Rubin's financial condition. During the honeymoon trip, Tamayo refused to share a hotel room with the luckless plaintiff.
In India, Rubin says he met a Bollywood producer who gave him work as a leading actor on several films. At which point, Rubin wanted to turn his experience with Tamayo into a feature film, so he wrote a script entitled Mickey and Kirin and allegedly deposited a copy with the Writers Guild of America. He later heard from a Hollywood friend about Hangover II, the story of some Asian misadventures by Americans on the road to a wedding.
"The production of Hangover 2 is not a complete 'literary' or 'artistic' works of the Hangover Defendants as credited in Hangover 2," says the complaint. "In fact, the production of Hangover 2 was a result of infringement of the Plaintiff's treatment 'Mickey and Kirin' and exploitation of the private real life of Plaintiff in an insulting manner."
Rubin is suing for copyright infringement, misappropriation of his publicity rights, and defamation. On the latter claim, he believes the filmmakers suggested the inference that he was under the influence of drugs when he ditched his girlfriend and proposed to a male-to-female transexual prostitute.
This is like the bizarro version of The Hurt Locker case, the lawsuit by a former Iraqi war veteran who claimed his rights of publicity were infringed, that he was defamed, and that he was cheated out of participating in the financial success of the Academy Award winning film. A judge's dismissal of this lawsuit last week led defendants' attorney Jeremiah Reynolds to crow that the development was "a huge victory for all filmmakers who should feel comfortable using real-life events as inspiration for their films."
We'd count this case as the sequel except that Rubin provides no evidence that the producers of Hangover II knew who the heck he was. And of course, Hangover II probably won't be winning any Oscars anytime soon.