Disney is being sued by Evel Knievel’s estate over a character that they say bears an uncanny resemblance to the stuntman.
The 2019 movie introduced a fearless toy character named Duke Caboom, alongside the likes of Woody and Buzz.
Voiced by Keanu Reeves, he’s seen performing tricks and stunts, particularly on his motorcycle, including one that sees him convinced he’s flying through the air.
A company called K&K Promotions has filed a suit against Disney and its subsidiaries, claiming that the character is a rip-off of the stunt performer and asking for damages, according to TMZ.
The site reports that they say they own all rights to Knievel’s likeness, persona and brand, and that Disney did not get approval to base a character on the stuntman.
In the movie, Duke is referred to as the ‘the greatest Canadian stuntman,’ which K&K says is a nod to the star, as well as the character looking very similar to Knievel’s stunt cycle toy from the 1970s.
They also allege that Disney prevented its cast and crew from mentioning Knievel’s name in interviews.
Knievel, who sadly died in 2007, was best known for his daredevil stunts and, during his career, attempted more than 75 ramp-to-ramp motorcycle jumps.
Reeves’ appearance in the fourth Toy Story film came as a surprise to fans, although it was later revealed that he’d landed the role just like any other actor – through a blind audition.
Director Josh Cooley told Hello! at the European premiere of the film: ‘We had the character design of Duke Caboom, but we had no idea who the voice would be.
‘We have a casting department at work and whenever we listen to voices I don’t want to see faces, I don’t want to see names, because you don’t get to see that on the screen.
‘They were playing a bunch of Canadian actors and they played a line from a Keanu movie that I hadn’t seen. Without seeing his face, his voice just stuck out and we were like, “Is that Keanu?” and he agreed to come and meet with us. And he helped craft that performance and that character in such a major way.’
Metro.co.uk has contacted Disney and Pixar for comment.
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Credit: Original article published here.