Judge dismisses Yesterday lawsuit claiming Universal used Ana De Armas to trick audiences into watching film

A US judge has dismissed a lawsuit accusing Universal Studios of tricking people into watching Yesterday using Ana De Armas.

The proposed class-action suit alleged that the film studio had duped fans by featuring the No Time to Die star in trailers for the 2019 film, despite the fact she does not appear in it.

Directed by Danny Boyle and written by Love Actually’s Richard Curtis, Yesterday starred Himesh Patel as a struggling musician who suddenly discovers that he is the only person who remembers the Beatles.

Using this knowledge, he finds huge success through performing their iconic songs. The film also stars Lily James, Joel Fry, Kate McKinnon, and Ed Sheeran.

De Armas was initially cast to appear in Yesterday as Patel’s love interest. Her scenes, however, were cut in the final version of the film.

Despite this, the trailer still prominently features the actor and Patel on the set of James Corden’s talk show.

As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, on Monday (27 August), US District Judge Stephen Wilson concluded that plaintiffs cannot pursue the proposed class action.

Wilson said that this was because the viewers did not rely on the alleged misrepresentations from the studio when making the decision to watch the movie.

Himesh Patel and Ed Sheeran in ‘Yesterday’ (Universal Pictures)
Himesh Patel and Ed Sheeran in ‘Yesterday’ (Universal Pictures)

In a lawsuit filed last year, Peter Michael Rosza and Conour Woulfe claimed that they had watched the trailer for Yesterday and were led to believe that de Armas played a substantial role in the film.

When they rented the romantic-comedy, however, the pair realised that the Oscar nominee does not show up in the movie at all.

Claiming false advertisement, unjust enrichment, and violation of unfair competition, the suit pointed to misrepresentations that the actor is listed as a cast member in search results.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

“Unable to rely on fame of the actors playing Jack Malik or Ellie to maximise ticket and movie sales and rentals, Defendant consequently used Ms De Armas’s fame, radiance and brilliance to promote the film by including her scenes in the movie trailers advertising Yesterday,” the complaint stated.

The court, however, found that Woulfe, who rented the film a second time on Google Play believing that the Blonde star might appear in the director’s cut, “lacks standing” to bring the suit due to his “injury” being “self-inflicted”.

The judge found that Woulfe did not solely watch Yesterday because of suggestions from Universal that de Armas appears in the movie.

Wilson also said there was no reason to believe that the director’s cut version they purchased on Google Play “would be a different version of the movie” than the one they watched for the first time.