A couple of superfans of Ana De Armas have decided to sue Universal for featuring the actress in promotional trailers for the 2019 film Yesterday. De Armas was originally supposed to appear in the film as a love interest, but her parts were eventually cut by producers before the film’s release.
Yesterday is a film directed by Danny Boyle, and depicts a world where the Beatles are forgotten by all but one struggling musician named Jack Malik, played by Himesh Patel. Ana De Armas was originally intended to be Jack’s love interest, but her parts were cut for time. The actress was not featured in the film at all, yet appeared in the film’s trailer alongside James Corden.
The two disgruntled fans had purchased the film through Amazon’s streaming service for $3.99 (£2.95), expecting to see her perform specifically. The pair have now filed a class action lawsuit against Universal, under the accusation of deceptive marketing. They are seeking $5 million (£3.6 million) in damages, on behalf of them and other fans of Ana De Armas. Lawyer Cody R. Lejeune will be representing the duo in court, and the premise of the case has been explained in a lawsuit statement:
“Because consumers were promised a movie with Ana de Armas by the trailer for Yesterday but did not receive a movie with any appearance of Ana de Armas at all, such consumers were not provided with any value for their rental or purchase.”
“Unable to rely on fame of the actors playing Jack Malik or Ellie (Lily James) to maximise ticket and movie sales and rentals, Defendant consequently used Ms. de Armas’ fame, radiance, and brilliance to promote the film by including her scenes in the movie trailers advertising Yesterday.”
De Armas was intended to play Roxane, a potential love interest of Jack’s, whom he would meet on a James Corden-led chat show, and then serenade with a cover of ‘Something’, a track from the Beatles’ Abbey Road. Screenwriter of Yesterday, Richard Curtis explained that the scenes were cut after test screenings.
Curtis said in an interview with Cinema Blend: “That was a very traumatic cut, because she was brilliant in it. I mean really radiant.” He recalled that audiences seemed to be adverse to the notion that Jack’s “eyes even strayed” away from his true love, who was played by actress Lily James. However, even after being cut from the final release, De Armas still popped up in the trailer.
It seems likely that the judge will understand the film as hinging its success far more on it’s Beatles songs and references than the appearance of Ana De Armas, especially considering that the actress gained the majority of her popularity from being in films like Knives Out and James Bond flick No Time To Die – both of which were released after Yesterday.
This is not the first time a trailer has been deemed as deceiving, as a similar lawsuit was filed by Sarah Deming in 2011 against the Nicholas Winding Refn movie, Drive, featuring star Ryan Gosling. In that case, the plaintiff said that the film’s trailer implied an action-adventure type racing film with plenty of vehicular stunts. Alongside the complaint, the lawsuit also highlighted apparent antisemitism, most likely due to the film’s villain, played by Albert Brooks. The lawsuit lasted seven years, with the plaintiff also calling for the judge to be removed for antisemitism after they rejected the suit.
We will have to wait and see whether the lawsuit regarding Yesterday will take as long as Drive’s did, but it will be interesting to see whether these Ana De Armas superfans will eventually see better luck than Deming did in court.