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Angelina Jolie sued, accused of plagiarizing movie

AngelinJolie Brad Pitt visit refugees village Medjedjnear eastern Bosnian town Visegrad 70 kilometers (43 miles) east Sarajevo April 5 2010.

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt visit refugees in the village of Medjedja, near the eastern Bosnian town of Visegrad, 70 kilometers (43 miles) east of Sarajevo on April 5, 2010. | AMEL EMRIC/AFP/Getty Images

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Updated: January 9, 2012 6:22PM

Angelina Jolie and the producers of her directorial debut, “In the Land of Blood and Honey,” plagiarized the work of Croatian journalist and author Josip J. Knezevic to create the film’s screenplay, Knezevic claims in a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

The local law firm of Belongia Shapiro & Franklin filed the suit last week using Knezevic’s Anglicized name, Joseph J. Braddock.

Knezevic did meet with Jolie’s producer, Edin Sarkic (also named in the suit), but Jolie told Sun-Times contributor Cindy Pearlman that the film’s script was totally her work.

“I sat down one day frustrated, having met so many people in post-traumatic stress situations, and wrote a story reflecting on it. I didn’t plan on writing a script or a movie. I wanted to put my thoughts on paper regarding a situation not discussed enough. This was my story ... a love story that I wrote,” said Jolie.

† A source close to the Academy Award winner said Tuesday, “When Angie sets her mind on doing something — like this extremely challenging project — she will charge ahead. She will not be deterred by something like this [lawsuit].”

While Jolie’s camp claims Knezevic’s allegations are meritless, Showbiz 411’s Roger Friedman points out it is unusual for someone to sue over a film before it opens (Jan. 6 in Chicago) when its financial profitability is unknown.

In the case of this movie — shot both in the Bosnian language and in English — it’s assumed it will have limited appeal and make relatively little money.

† One defendant named in the suit is the FilmDistrict production company, an Illinois corporation — another reason for the filing in the federal court for the Northern District of Illinois.

STAGE SET: Tony winner and TV star Denis O’Hare (“True Blood,” “American Horror Story”) was in town this week to see Court Theatre’s production of “An Iliad,” O’Hare’s stage adaptation of Homer’s classic — and to visit with Court’s artistic director Charles Newell and the play’s star, Timothy Edward Kane.

† Cast members of Porchlight Music Theatre’s upcoming Chicago premiere of “A Catered Affair” — including Rebecca Finnegan and Jerry O’Boyle — caught Broadway legend Faith Prince’s recent concert performance in Evanston. Prince starred in the original Broadway run of John Bucchino and Harvey Fierstein’s “A Catered Affair.”

HOLIDAY MEMORIES: Peter Billingsley, who always will be treasured as Ralphie in “A Christmas Story,” has loaned Macy’s some props from that holiday classic to help promote his producing “A Christmas Story, The Musical!”

Among the items in the State Street store’s windows are the famous bunny suit and cowboy costume worn by Billingsley in the film, plus the Red Ryder BB gun and the original film’s clapboard.

FAMILY FIRST: Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody (“Juno”) isn’t just facing the opening Friday of her latest scripting effort, “Young Adult” — directed by Jason Reitman and starring Charlize Theron. She also is dealing with the relocation of her parents, Pam and Greg Busey, from the Chicago suburbs to a place down the street from the L.A. home Cody shares with husband Daniel Maurio and their new son, Marcello.

“It’s so funny to see my dad, who’s this lifelong Midwesterner, adapting to his new surroundings,” Cody told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “He’s already got a goatee.”

NO SHOW: Due to a last-minute potential television opportunity, the Dec. 18 performance of “Colors of Christmas,” featuring Peabo Bryson, Jennifer Holliday, Lea Salonga and Ben Vereen, has been canceled. Refunds are available at point of purchase.

SEEN ON THE SCENE: Bears offensive guard Chris Williams may have had his arm in a cast, but that didn’t seem to slow down his ability to chow down on a feast at Joe’s Stone Crab — including a colossal crab cake, New York strip steak, fried chicken, mashed potatoes and hash browns! … Separately, Bears coach Lovie Smith and QB Caleb Hanie also were spied recently at Joe’s. … Mayor Rahm Emanuel lunched at Puck’s Cafe at the Museum of Contemporary Art with his cultural affairs commissioner, Michelle Boone, and checked out the new “Sonic Arboretum” exhibit by indie rocker Andrew Bird and inventor Ian Schneller.

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