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I am the Hurt Locker: Master Sgt Jeffrey Sarver, Iraq war veteran

Oscar favourite "The Hurt Locker" has been hit by a lawsuit from an Iraq war veteran who claims that the main character of the reckless bomb disposal expert in the film is based on him, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Master Sgt Jeffrey Sarver claimed that "The Hurt Locker" screenwriter Mark Boal was embedded in his unit in 2004 and that he crafted the character based on Sarver's real-life exploits, attorney Geoffrey Fieger said in a news conference.

Fieger said that he planned to file a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against the film's producers, who cheated him out of his financial participation in the film. Sarver even claimed that it was he who came up with the phrase The Hurt Locker, and that the film even used his call signal "Blaster One" in the script.

"The Hurt Locker" is based on an article that Boal wrote after spending time embedded in a bomb disposal unit, and the film's US distributor issued a statement that it hoped for "a quick resolution" to Sarver's claims.

"The film is a story about heroes, depicting a fictional account of what brave men and women do on the battlefield," said the film's US distributor, Summit Entertainment.

"We have no doubt that Master Sgt Sarver served his country with honour and commitment, risking his life for a greater good, but we distributed the film based on a fictional screenplay written by Mark Boal."

The lawsuit adds to the last-minute problems facing "The Hurt Locker", as it heads into Sunday night's Academy Awards ceremony as the favourite to win the coveted Best Picture prize.

The movie's producer was barred Tuesday from attending the Oscars as punishment for sending an email that violated campaign rules. Numerous veterans have also blasted the film's depiction of soldiers' experiences in Baghdad.

(News published under the licence from Indo Asian News Service)

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