French novel Scarlett Johannson tried to ban is out in English


A best-selling French novel that Scarlett Johansson tried to get banned has been published in the UK.

French novelist Grégoire Delacourt’s book, La Première Chose Qu’on Regarde or The First Thing You See has been published in English, despite the actress' attempt to block translation.

Mr Delacourt’s story opens with the protagonist Arthur Dreyfuss being visited by Scarlett Johansson who says she wants to hang out with him (in, apparently, Ms Johansson’s particular husky voice).

Although the novel goes on to reveal that the lady is not Johansson but merely a lookalike, the real Ms Johansson sued Mr Delacourt last year, claiming that the novel constituted a “violation and fraudulent and illegal exploitation of her name, her reputation and her image”, as well as “defamatory claims about her private life”.

An early passage in the novel says: “Scarlett Johansson looked exhausted. Her hair, somewhere in between two colours, was at war with itself, tumbling loose, flowing, as if in slow motion. Her luscious mouth had lost its usual gloss.

“There were gloomy shadows beneath her eyes where her mascara had smudged, like charcoal. And unfortunately for Arthur Dreyfuss, she was wearing a baggy sweater. A sweater like a sack that did no justice to the actress’s curves, which everyone knew were bewitching, spellbinding.”

While, the judge agreed that the novel was defamatory, he threw out the claim that it “fraudulently exploited her name, her image and her celebrity” and her attempt to prevent it being translated or filmed.

Mr Delacourt said of his story: “I imagined this encounter between one of the most beautiful girls in the world, and a boy who, like all boys, dreams of the most beautiful girl in the world. And when the surface cracks, we discover what is most important: real beauty is self-esteem.”

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