Former teen star's new video borrows liberally from ultra-low-budget romance — legal action a possibility
The middle Jonas Brother may have successfully navigated puberty, but now has to contend with charges of plagiarism.
Joe Jonas's new video is so similar to the low-budget indie drama "For Lovers Only" that it has ignited a furor among that film's rabid fans, and could even lead to legal action, TheWrap has learned.
The video presents a more mature and sexual side of the former teen star, now 22. It features Jonas and French model Angele Sassy cavorting in Paris.
Much of the time, they do so in situations that are nearly identical in content and composition to scenes from "For Lovers Only," a romance inspired by the French New Wave and made in France for virtually no money by Michael and Mark Polish with actress Stana Katic ("Castle").
"It's very disheartening that a fellow director would go to those lengths to copy 'For Lovers Only' and not credit us," writer and star Mark Polish told TheWrap exclusively on Tuesday.
Polish said outraged fans alerted him to the video over the weekend. Nowhere, he said, has anyone associated with the video mentioned "For Lovers Only."
"If they had said our film was their inspiration, we would have been flattered," Polish said. "But nowhere in any of their materials do they say that we were an influence on them, which is upsetting to us as artists. And it makes this feel like plagiarism."
HSI Productions said its music video executives were on location on Tuesday; none responded to TheWrap's request for comment. Kevin Jonas Sr., the manager of Joe Jonas, did not respond to messages left at his office. The video's director, Jaci Judelson, could not be reached.
The video premiered on iTunes last week and entered the video charts at No. 4, with more than 3 million views.
Polish would not discuss on any further action, but a source close to the filmmakers told TheWrap that the Polish brothers do have legal counsel and are exploring the idea of a copyright infringement lawsuit.
In 2004, Madonna paid more than $600,000 to the family of French photographer Guy Bourdin after admitting that she had used his work for inspiration in her "Hollywood" video.
Here's a comparison of the Jonas video with the trailer for "For Lovers Only." The trailer includes a few but not all of the many scenes that pop up in similar form in the video.
"Just in Love" video:
"For Lovers Only" trailer:
"For Lovers Only," which director Michael Polish freely admits was inspired by the French New Wave, and particularly by Claude Lelouch's "A Man and a Woman," was made for no money by the brothers, who used equipment they already owned and piggybacked the shoot onto a French vacation they had already planned to take.
It became a bestseller on iTunes after its July release, and accumulated a rabid group of followers who still sing the movie's praises on Twitter. Those followers have bombarded HSI's Facebook page with demands that the production company acknowledge the video's inspiration.
"There is nothing wrong with getting inspiration from other artists' beautiful works, like you did with Mark & Michael Polish's 'For Lovers Only' movie for this video, but there is everything wrong in not acknowledging that inspiration," wrote one fan.
HSI has not responded on its Facebook page.
Fans have also posted side-by-side comparisons of scenes from the video and the film, including this one (excerpt at right) on Tumblr.
In the interviews he's done about the video, Joe Jonas has talked about how excited he was to shoot the video in Paris ("like a dream come true"), how he was the only one on the set who didn't speak French and how he thinks the video's sexual aspects may shock some of his longtime fans.
He has not spoken about the video's inspiration, though Mark Polish said he saw an interview where someone else associated with the video "said it was inspired by the French New Wave. But the French New Wave is a style, not the content.
"In their video, the content is a man and a woman meeting on the stairs, taking a boat ride, running through Paris, sitting in a bathtub … And so much of that is straight from our movie that the first time I watched it, I thought, 'Somebody really loved 'For Lovers Only.'"
The HSI Productions website includes a running Twitter feed including all the recent comments about its productions. As of Tuesday afternoon, nine of the 10 comments upbraided the company for not acknowledging "For Lovers Only."