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Judge mows King's name off movie

THE BALTIMORE SUN

NEW YORK -- The Lawnmower Man is getting a clipping.

A Manhattan judge Monday ordered the makers of the movie "Stephen King's The Lawnmower Man" to remove Mr. King's name from the title and promotional materials because the film version has almost nothing to do with his short story and might hurt his reputation.

Mr. King's lawyer, Peter Herbert, said the decision will require the worldwide recall of the movie from 600 theaters to blot out any attribution to the author.

The movie, starring Pierce Brosnan, was released in March.

Joseph Santora, lawyer for the U.S. film distributor, called the ruling "totally wrong" and said it might be appealed.

Mr. King sued because he was afraid that moviegoers would wrongly believe he had a hand in the flick, when in fact he did not contribute anything. He had sold the movie rights but did not authorize the use of his name.

U.S. District Judge Constance Baker Motley said she read the 10-page short story and watched the one hour, 45-minute movie and concluded that the film deals mostly with material "entirely unrelated" to Mr. King's tale.

Mr. King's story is about a homeowner who gets chewed up by a lawn mower after hiring a gardener sent by a pagan god. The movie, however, revolves around "virtual reality," an advanced computer technology that allows humans to enter imaginary, multidimensional environments.

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