Ana de Armas is one of the stars of the moment. Who wouldn’t want to see the hypnotic star of Blonde, the latest Bond girl, the recent Oscar nominee on screen? And, above all, who would not want to see it if they have been promised? It would be a tremendous disappointment, but what is the price of disappointment? That’s what two American men thought about, Peter Michael Rosza and Conor Woulfe, who a few months ago rented the movie Yesterday through the Amazon Prime Video platform for $3.99, about 3.5 euros in exchange. They hoped to meet the Spanish-Cuban interpreter, as the trailer they had seen, in which she appeared, had promised them. But not. De Armas was nowhere to be found. She had been cut from the footage at the last moment. And they set the price for that deception: five million dollars. For this amount they sued Universal in 2022. Now, a year and a half after the complaint, a judge has dismissed the petition.
Rosza (45, living in San Diego, southern California, and who rented the film in July 2021) and Woulfe (39, who lives in Maryland, 39, and rented it in October of that same year) They demanded compensation from the judge for the damage caused. They wanted to see De Armas. So much so that Woulfe even rented the film on a second occasion, in this case through Google Play, the video platform of the giant Google, thinking that there, in the director’s version, the actress would appear. But it wasn’t like that either.
Indeed, in the trailer for the film directed by Danny Boyle, released in February 2019 and which generated great expectation, accumulating one million views on its first day on YouTube, De Armas appeared. The protagonist of the feature film was Jack (played by Himesh Patel), a British musician whose career does not take off and who suffers a bicycle accident on the same day that there is a global blackout; waking up, he realizes that only he remembers the songs of the Beatles. In the romantic comedy written by screenwriter Richard Curtis, Lily James (Downton Abbey, Cinderella) played Ellie, her friend, confidant and manager, who little by little became her romantic interest. Ana de Armas played Roxanne, who apparently had a parallel story with Patel, a romance that could be seen in those previous images, where he sang Something to her. However, Curtis (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually) explained shortly before its premiere that the public did not fully understand or agree with this parallel flirtation of the protagonist with De Armas and that they decided to eliminate the entire character’s plot in the editing room, something common in large film productions. But he stayed, in a few seconds, in the trailer.
Rosza and Woulfe’s anger—or, perhaps, their hope of getting a handful of millions through legal means—led to a lawsuit that California Central District Judge Stephen Wilson has now dismissed, stating that Woulfe, in particular, “lacks standing” to file it because the lawsuit is about “a self-inflicted wound,” and believes there is no reason to believe that “the version of Yesterday they accessed through Google Play would be different from the one they saw on Amazon”.
Actress Ana de Armas poses during the 70th edition of the San Sebastián Film Festival in September 2022, where she presented her film ‘Blonde’.Juan Herrero (EFE)
The lawsuit accused the producer and distributor, Universal, of false advertising under the laws of the State of California, as well as unjust enrichment and antitrust violations, and stated that the project was “incapable of relying on the fame of the actors” who played the leading roles to maximize ticket sales and rentals, and that therefore “the defense (Universal) used the fame, radiance and brilliance of De Armas to promote the film by including scenes of him in the images promotional”.
Last December, the judge appeared to move closer to the plaintiffs’ position when he dismissed a Universal countersuit seeking to eliminate that first complaint. He then stated that trailers indeed imply “a certain creativity and editorial discretion” and that they are “advertisements designed to sell a film by offering the viewer a preview of it.” But now he seems to have tired of Rosza and Woulfe’s legal tricks and has definitively dismissed their lawsuit, among other reasons because the plaintiffs have modified their legal request up to three times in this time; in fact, they introduced it after they first rented the movie and changed it when they rented it on Google Play.
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