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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Balian is apparently a historical character, but seems to be little mentioned outside of James Reston, Jr's Warriors of God...and he's suing Ridley Scott over it.  From the London Times:

  
March 31, 2005 

Ridley Scott denies allegations of plagiarism over Crusades movie
By Dalya Alberge, Arts Correspondent
 
 
SIR RIDLEY SCOTT, the Oscar-nominated British film director and producer, was accused yesterday of raiding an author’s research for his new film about the Crusades. 


He may face a legal challenge from James Reston Jr, who claims that “events, characters, scenes, descriptions and character tensions” in Kingdom of Heaven, the epic film, are “strikingly similar” to his narrative history, Warriors of God: Richard the Lionheart and Saladin in the Third Crusade. 

Mr Reston obtained a leaked copy of the script and is seeking acknowledgement in the credits and compensation for the alleged loss of $500,000 (£266,000), plus 5 per cent of the net takings. He says that Sir Ridley, whose films include Gladiator, Blade Runner and Alien, and Twentieth Century Fox may have violated international copyright law, even though they insist that they have never read his book. 

“There’s a ton of similarities,” he told The Times yesterday. “I’ve been through a long process of comparison between the book and the script.” He claims that his history of the Third Crusade fleshed out obscure details from the period and brought to life minor historical characters. 

They include Balian of Ibelin, the central figure of Sir Ridley’s film, who is played by Orlando Bloom as a knight who tries to defend Jerusalem against Muslim attackers. Mr Reston says that, while other books have relegated Balian to a footnote, he elevated the character to a minor hero in his book: “A tall man of noble bearing, this blueblood had for years reigned his fief well.” 

He claimed that his book, which has sold 150,000 copies since it was published by Faber in 2001, was sent to Sir Ridley by the producer, Mike Medavoy, who had bought the rights to Warriors of God and was suggesting that they collaborate on a film version. 

Mr Reston claimed that they were eventually told that Sir Ridley had a Crusades project of his own. “After Scott declined the business offer of a collaboration, he then focused on the same material,” he said. 

Kingdom of Heaven, which also stars Jeremy Irons and Liam Neeson, is to be released in Britain on May 6. 

Sir Ridley could not be contacted and Twentieth Century Fox declined to comment. Its lawyers are believed to be arguing that the film-makers never read Mr Reston’s book and that it is anyway different from the film. 
 
 
 
 



Dulcie Gannett
Division of Nephrology/Hypertension
(312) 926-4880; fax (312) 926-4885
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-----Original Message-----
From: medieval-religion - Scholarly discussions of medieval religious
culture [mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of cecilia
gaposchkin
Sent: Wednesday, April 20, 2005 3:09 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [M-R] Balian of Ibelin: Kingdom of Heaven


medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Dear All,

I do hope no one will consider this an ill use of this list.  I am writing
because I am trying get some actual, proper, accurate, information about
Blaian of Ibelin, the 12th century Frankish nobleman who Ridley Scott has
made the hero of his new epic film "Kingdom of Heaven,"  which opens on May
6.  I am currently teaching a course on the crusades, and I am arranging to
take the class, as a class, to see the film the following Monday (5/9).  I
lecture on the Third Crusade next week and am envisioning my task to give
them the basic narrative information they will need in order to go see the
film with some critical ability.  I would like to give them some basic
background on Balian, but frankly, do not know where to look.  Does anybody
know what is known about him? And could either point me in the proper
direction and/or tell me what is known?

In advance, with thanks
cecilia


M.C.Gaposchkin, Ph.D.
History, Dartmouth College

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