Bit-Actor Sues Fox For $250 Million Over Stereotypical Mob Character In The Simpsons, Says It's Based On A Role He Hadn't Performed Yet
from the fuggitebowdit dept
You know Frank Sivero from movies like The Godfather Part 2 and Goodfellas. He’s the diminutive side-kick guy. One of several in those movies, actually, and one of many mobster sidekicks throughout the movie industry. What you may not know about Frank Sivero is that he thinks that the character Louie from The Simpsons, Fat Tony’s stereotypical mobster sidekick, is based solely off of him and he would please like $250 Million dollars because of it, thanks. His reasons for thinking that Louie is based solely off of him are more convoluted than a 9/11 conspiracy theory.
In his latest lawsuit, Sivero alleges that in 1989, he was living in an apartment complex in Sherman Oaks, California. He says that writers of The Simpsons were literally living next door to him in that same complex.
“They knew he was developing the character he was to play in the movie Goodfellas,” states the lawsuit. “In fact, they were aware the entire character of ‘Frankie Carbone’ was created and developed by Sivero, who based this character on his own personality.”
Well, case closed then. All the writers for The Simpsons were living directly next door to Frank Sivero, therefore obviously any mobster sidekick they might create on their own must be based on the character that he was also creating for a movie that hadn’t even come out yet. The suit also makes it quite clear that everything about the Louie character is based on Sivero…except when it’s also based on other actors, too.
“Louie’s appearance and mannerisms are strongly evocative of character actor Frank Sivero,” continues the lawsuit, which quickly adds that according to Dan Castellaneta, who provides the voice of Louie (as well as Homer Simpson), “he modeled his voice after Italian American actor, Joe Pesci, who also had a role in Goodfellas.”
So…it’s not entirely based on Frank Sivero. The whole voice thing is kind of a big part of the mannerisms thing when it comes to a character. It’s almost like Louie is supposed to be an amalgam of stereotypical mobster characters. A parody of them, if you will, one which would be mega-protected by the whole First Amendment thing we have. For Sivero, however, this composite character represents an afront to his likeness under California’s publicity rights laws, putting him squarely on level ground with noted super-brain Lindsay Lohan. Further evidence of this theft of likeness, according to Sivero’s filing, is a random dinner he once had with James Brooks and some supposed promise that they do some film work together. What any of that has to do with The Simpsons remains unclear.
But, with a rather insane claim that the supposed use of his likeness in The Simpsons somehow resulted in him being type-casted, Sivero wants roughly all the dollars from Fox.
Besides Sivero alleging that his publicity rights were violated and that his idea was misappropriated, he’s also in court over defendants’ alleged interference with prospective economic advantage. Sivero says that by stealing his likeness and idea, the defendants have “diluted the value of the character created by plaintiff, and contributed to the ‘type-casting’ of Plaintiff.” He’s demanding $50 million in actual damage loss of his likeness, $100 million more over improper interference, $50 million more in actual damage loss over the appropriation of his “confidential” idea, $50 million more in exemplary damages over that same “confidential” idea, plus injunctive relief and reasonable attorney fees for his lawyer Alex Herrera.
The fact that the word “reasonable” appears in this lawsuit at all is a better joke than any that’s appeared on The Simpons in years.