Donnie Darko + Alyssa Milano
October 24, 2004 1:09 AM   Subscribe

The IMDB entry for Donnie Darko says: "The script initially called for Donnie's fantasies to be about Alyssa Milano. This had to be changed however when Richard Kelly was denied the legal rights to reference her in this manner." Does anyone know what laws are operating in this situation?
posted by lbergstr to Law & Government (12 answers total)
competing arguments: misappropriation of a public likeness vs. no expectation to privacy as a public figure.
posted by Fupped Duck at 7:53 AM on October 24, 2004

I always thought that, especially in writing, you can reference anyone you like as long as you don't portray them out of character. For example, you can have Jack Nicholson eating dinner in a restaurant that one of your characters visits. You just can't portray Nicholson as, say, hitting on his teenaged waitress. Um ...

Oh well. Milano's no great loss from Darko. She looks ... conspicuously implanted these days, anyway. A bit too silicone. What b1tr0t said: it was probably just respect for Milano's wishes, not an actual prohibiting law.
posted by Shane at 8:13 AM on October 24, 2004

Alyssa's mother, Lin, has done a lot legal-wise to "protect" her daughter's image (mostly on the internet) - check google. So I can see why the makers of a non-big budget movie wouldn't want to get involve with her.

I think the commentary on the DVD also talks about all the hoops they had to go through to get permission to use the Smurf references.
posted by gluechunk at 8:19 AM on October 24, 2004

I think gluechunk hit it. Though they probably could have gotten away with it legally, they weren't financially lucid enough to take the chance.
posted by dobbs at 8:31 AM on October 24, 2004

This is a very general overview of rights of publicity.
posted by anathema at 8:55 AM on October 24, 2004

You can't reference a product, person,anything without permission. That's why Tarantino invented Apple cigarrettes, etc.
posted by xammerboy at 11:48 AM on October 24, 2004

I have no idea idea who Alyssa Milano is - even after checking IMDB. What was she famous for in 1988?

BTW, if anyone's curious in seeing The Director's Cut of Darko - don't bother.
posted by dodgygeezer at 12:11 PM on October 24, 2004

dodgy, at that time she was mostly known for being in the tv show Who's the Boss?.

also, here's a brief article she wrote about
posted by gluechunk at 12:21 PM on October 24, 2004

Ah yes, I've heard of that. Cheers
posted by dodgygeezer at 1:03 PM on October 24, 2004

Alyssa Milano - or her mother, as gluechunk says - has been very active in the protection of her image since some soft-porn clips of her appeared on the net filmed pre-Charmed and whatever else she's been famous for... I remember her lawyers trying to get sites to take the clips down - because calling attention to something like that is always a good strategy to take.
posted by humuhumu at 1:44 PM on October 24, 2004

dodgy, at that time she was mostly known for being in the tv show Who's the Boss?.

She also did the Elizabeth Berkely thing: she was a child star that America watched grow up, then when she turned legal she did a little nudity and let a female vampire fondle her breasts in the film Embrace of the Vampire. People had been salivating for her to do nudity the way so many people are counting down the days for the Olson twins now, and if you look at Milano's filmography you can tell her career needed the boost.
posted by Shane at 3:14 PM on October 24, 2004

Bit of trivia here - Milano's 12-year-old brother tried Googling her name once and saw a whole lot more of Big Sis than he had bargained for. The worst thing he found was a picture of her nine-year-old face pasted onto a nine-year-old girl's naked body. After that, I can't blame her for making the effort to control how and where her image is used.
posted by orange swan at 4:58 AM on October 25, 2004

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