Variety reports two fans of actress Ana de Armas filed a class-action lawsuit on Friday against Universal on the pretenses of false advertising. Each alleged they had been manipulated by the studio to rent the film Yesterday (2019) because de Armas appeared in the trailer, but was subsequently cut from the film.
Peter Michael Rosza, 44, of San Diego County Calif., and Conor Woulfe, 38, of Maryland alleged they each paid $3.99 to rent the movie on Amazon Prime after viewing the trailer, only to discover that de Armas was not in the film.
Yesterday stars Himesh Patel as Jack Malik, a failed singer-songwriter who, through a supernatural occurrence, is the only person to remember the Beatles. Malik rockets to stardom after claiming credit for their songs.
De Armas played Roxanne, a love interest first introduced to Malik on James Corden’s talk show. Malik would then serenade her with George Harrison’s “Something.” That scene and others were cut because audiences did not like the idea of Malik straying from his primary love interest, Ellie, played by Lilly James of 2015’s Cinderella and 2017’s Baby Driver.
The suit alleges that because Yesterday was Patel’s first leading role and “James was a relatively unknown name to the casual movie watcher,” Universal purposefully used de Armas’ image and stardom to coerce consumers into buying and renting the movie.
Screenwriter Richard Curtis explained why de Armas was cut to Cinema Blend: “That was a very traumatic cut, because she was brilliant in it. I mean really radiant…You know, it’s one of those things where it’s some of our favorite scenes from the film, but we had to cut them for the sake of the whole.”
The suit accuses Universal of engaging in “false and/or misleading representations and deceptions promoting the movie,” using de Armas’ “radiant” and “brilliant” performance and their “favorite scenes” to dupe consumers. They seek to recoup at least $5 million on behalf of affected customers.
This case resembles a 2011 lawsuit in Michigan regarding the film Drive. In that case, the plaintiff alleged that the trailer promised “a high-speed action-driving film” and was not prepared for the slow-paced drama interspersed with graphic violence. A Michigan appeals court dismissed the case because every scene in the trailer appeared in the movie. This does not set legal precedent as the scenes in Yesterday‘s trailer did not appear in the final cut.
Universal has yet to comment.