Scarlett Johansson is suing a French author over claims that his fictional book makes "defamatory claims about her private life".

The court case began in Paris on Wednesday.

The novel, entitled La Premiere Chose qu'On Regarde (The First Thing We Look At), by Grégoire Delacourt focuses on a French model who looks so much like Johansson that men mistake her for the American actress. The character - who goes on a series of escapades pretending to be Johansson - is seen as a sex object, while women are jealous of her.

However, Johansson is less than pleased with the literary role and is suing Delacourt for €50,000 (NZ$79,000). She also hopes to stop the book from being made into a film or from being translated. Her lawyer, Vincent Toledano, said that the novel was a "violation and fraudulent and illegal exploitation of her name, her reputation and her image".


"The freedom of expression that she defends as an artist is not in question," Toledano said. "Such activities for purely mercantile ends have nothing to do with creativity."

Delacourt, a much-loved author in France, was "speechless" when he found out Johansson was suing him.

"I thought she'd get in contact to ask me to go for a coffee with her. I didn't write a novel about a celebrity," he said. "I wrote a real love story and a homage to feminine beauty, especially interior beauty.

"If an author can no longer mention the things that surround us, a brand of beer, a monument, an actor... it's going to be complicated to produce fiction."

"It's stupefying, especially as I'm not sure she's even read the novel since it hasn't been translated yet."

- Independent