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The Independent Culture
While everyone is excited, though a little anxious, about That Court Case, Sean Connery probably has his mind on a different legal matter. Connery was this week sued for copyright infringement by one Dr Wilburn H Ferguson of Texas, who claims that he is The Medicine Man depicted in the recent film of the same name, which starred and was co-produced by Connery. The doctor, who is now in his eighties, lived with the Ecuadorean Amazon Indians in the 1930s and, like Connery's character in the film, also tried to convince American medical experts that a cancer cure was to be found in that region's plant-life. Ferguson claims that he began developing a film project based on his 'extensive jungle plant research' in 1973, and that he took the idea to Hollywood's powerful Creative Artists Agency in 1987. After talks with CAA, he alleges that the agency, which also represents Connery and screenwriter Tom Schulman (who was paid an estimated dollars 3m for his work on Medicine Man), then put together a movie package which bore a suspiciously close resemblance to his project, but cut him out of the deal. As well as Connery, Schulman and CAA, Ferguson and his co-plaintiff Phillip Lambro are also suing Disney's Hollywood Pictures, which distributed the film. A spokesman for CAA declined to comment, saying: 'We only found out about this thing a couple of days ago - we don't even know what we're up against yet.' The case continues.

A Hollywood film about a Mexican, woman, artist? They said it couldn't be done, and this week director Luis Valdez conceded that, for now at least, they are right. Valdez, best known for La Bamba, halted production on his Frida and Diego, based on the life of Frida Kahlo, after demonstrations over the casting of Laura San Giacomo in the central role. The decision to cast an Italian-American actress angered Hollywood's Latino community, who wanted a Mexican to play the part. Now, Valdez finds himself in a catch-22 situation: there are no Mexican actresses with enough box-office clout to attract the dollars 7m budget the film requires, and anyway, he points out, Kahlo was half Jewish. 'I'm fed up,' he told reporters on Monday, 'It is difficult enough to make movies about strong women . . . it is damn near impossible by Hollywood standards.'

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