HOLLYWOOD, Calif.—Piranha 3D, which opens tomorrow, may not unseat Jaws as the scariest movie ever about hungry underwater critters with very sharp teeth, but it sure has put Girls Gone Wild’s Joe Francis on edge. The soft porn entrepreneur was litigiously mad this week when word leaked that Jerry O’Connell, the actor who plays an… um… soft porn entrepreneur in the movie, let slip the fact that his character was “loosely based” on Francis.
In fact, Francis was so peeved about the situation that, according to the New York Post, he had his attorney, Stanton Stein, fire off a letter to the Weinstein Company, producers of the camp horror flick through Dimension Films, warning, “We caution all of those associated with this film to refrain from maligning Mr. Francis ... Any defamatory or disparaging statements ... will be met with swift litigation."
Smack! Pow! Wham!
Of course, it’s never easy to divine what Francis will deem defamatory or disparaging. To some, he provides those services better than anyone else ever could. But the fact that the O’Connell character, Derrick Jones, has his penis bitten off by a piranha just might be the bite that broke the camel’s back. Many people have accused Francis of being a “jerk” and a “douchebag” over the years, but dickless?
On the other hand, the fact that Joe Francis is taking any of this seriously is a joke in itself. In a Los Angeles Times article published Thursday, Piranha 3D’s writer-director, the Frenchman Alexandre Aja lays it out as clearly as one can. “It was written as a comedy, not a horror movie,” he said. “There were some horrific moments, but it was much more like a comedy. I really liked the idea: prehistoric piranha released by an earthquake during spring break.”
Comedy? Horrific moments? Spring Break?
With those descriptors, it would have been a crime if Piranha 3D didn’t have a character loosely based on Joe Francis!
In other Piranha 3D news, Digital Playground contract star Riley Steele plays Chrystal in the film and has been plastered all over Hollywood blogs for her sultry red carpet poses. The film held its premiere last night at the legendary Mann's Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard.
P.S.—Ashlynn Brooke and Gianna Michaels also are in the movie and they aren't complaining.