- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 22, 2002

TEXARKANA, Texas — A downed U.S. pilot who emerged as a hero after escaping from Bosnia has sued 20th Century Fox and the Discovery Channel, claiming they made unauthorized productions about his ordeal.
Scott O'Grady says the commercial value of his name and identity have been damaged irreparably by the 2001 movie "Behind Enemy Lines," starring Owen Wilson and Gene Hackman, and a related TV drama.
"Captain O'Grady was also troubled that the 'hero' in the Fox movie used foul language, was portrayed as a 'hot dog' type pilot, and disobeyed orders, unlike O'Grady," says the lawsuit filed Monday in federal court in Texarkana.
Flo Grace, a spokeswoman for 20th Century Fox, says the studio was taken aback by Mr. O'Grady's lawsuit.
"At the time of release, Capt. O'Grady's public comment acknowledged that the movie was not his story," Miss Grace says. "Rather, it was a story based on the concept of a public event that was turned into a movie, which he acknowledged that we had the right to do."
Telephone messages left Tuesday with the Discovery Channel weren't immediately returned.
In the Fox film, Mr. Wilson plays Lt. Chris Burnett, a U.S. flier who is trapped in Bosnia. Mr. Hackman plays Leslie Reigart, his surly commanding officer, who must rescue him without jeopardizing the region's fragile peace negotiations.
Mr. O'Grady became a national figure when a surface-to-air missile destroyed his F-16 fighter plane in June 1995. He hid from the Serbs for six days while trying to contact the United States and consumed grass, bugs and rainwater until U.S. Marines rescued him.
The 36-year-old, who lives in Plano, resigned from the Air Force last year. He works as a motivational speaker and wrote a children's book about his experiences.
Mr. O'Grady claims invasion of privacy and says the two production companies wrongfully profited from his story without trying to secure the proper rights.
The lawsuit doesn't list damages, but Mr. O'Grady is seeking the movie and television drama's profits, triple damages that he sustained, legal fees and "an additional amount that the court considers just."
The movie, which came out in November, grossed more than $55 million. The DVD arrived in stores in April.A Discovery Channel TV show, "Behind Enemy Lines: The Scott O'Grady Story," aired several times from 1998 to 2001.

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