Report: Hells Angels founder sues HBO over biker series


April 21, 2008 -- The Associated Press  

LOS ANGELES -- The founder of the Hells Angels motorcycle club has sued HBO, claiming the pay cable network cut him out of an upcoming pilot he helped develop, The Hollywood Reporter reported.

Sonny Barger filed a lawsuit in federal court in Los Angeles last week against HBO, production company White Mountain Co. and the project's writer/executive producer, Michael Tolkin.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the series "1 percent" originally was set at an Arizona chapter of the fictional Death Rangers, one of the toughest motorcycle clubs in the country. The central character is a biker, Misfit, sent in from a Northern California chapter to bring it under control.

HBO is getting ready to start production on the show, which will feature Donal Logue as Misfit.

Barger claims in the lawsuit that he and Tolkin pitched HBO on a motorcycle club-centered series. The cable network turned to Tolkin to create it.

A call to HBO for comment wasn't immediately returned Monday.

Among the objections Barger lists in the lawsuit are "that some characters introduced by Tolkin too close resembled or depicted living persons (in particular a character named `Chief,' which for decades has been a well-known nickname or alias for Sonny Barger), that some actual place names used in the script were too identifiably associated with Sonny Barger and the Hells Angels (such as the primary location being Carefree, AZ, which is the town adjacent to where Sonny Barger presently resides, and that the principal character has moved from Northern California, which is exactly what Sonny Barger did)."

The name of the Chief character has been changed to Cap, the setting of the show has been moved to Apache Junction, Ariz., and Misfit now comes from Valhalla, Ore.

The lawsuit seeks to make the show's script a joint work of Sonny Barger Productions and Tolkin, and seeks to keep the program from being sold or telecast. Barger also wants compensation for what he calls the exploitation of his publicity rights.

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