Downed airman sues over ''Behind Enemy Lines.'' Scott O'Grady, who survived being shot down over Bosnia, sues over the Fox movie and a TV docudrama that allegedly retold his story without permission

Last winter, when the movie ”Behind Enemy Lines” came out, most reviewers noticed the similarity between the Owen Wilson-Gene Hackman war drama and the real-life story of U.S. Air Force Captain Scott O’Grady, the pilot who was shot down over Bosnia in 1995 and lived by his wits in enemy territory for six days before Marines rescued him. Apparently, the similarity was too close for O’Grady, who is suing both 20th Century Fox and the Discovery Channel, which made a docudrama about his ordeal, citing both for unauthorized appropriation of his life story, Reuters reports.

When the movie came out, O’Grady gave numerous television interviews, saying that, while ”Enemy Lines” deviated from his own experience, it was an accurate depiction of U.S. military action in the Balkans. Now, however, in his lawsuit, filed Monday in federal district court in Texarkana, Texas, his complaint reads in part, ”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.” According to Reuters, he claims that the movie has damaged his commercial image, since he currently works as a motivational speaker and has written a children’s book about his adventure.

The Discovery Channel docudrama, called ”Behind Enemy Lines: The Scott O’Grady Story,” apparently dates back to 1998, but it was rebroadcast in 2001 in conjunction with the movie’s promotional campaign. O’Grady is suing both media outlets for invasion of privacy through the misappropriation of his name, likeness and identity; false representation and false advertising; unjust enrichment; and civil conspiracy. For damages, he seeks the film and television program’s profits, triple damages that he sustained, legal fees, and ”an additional amount that the court considers just.” Both the Discovery Channel and Fox have declined comment on the suit.

Behind Enemy Lines
  • Movie
  • 105 minutes