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Hells Angels Founder Sues HBO

Members of the Hells Angels and other motorcycle clubs attend the funeral for Roger Mariani, 61, Saturday April 8, 2006 in Bridgeport, Conn. Mariani of Stratford was killed and motorcyclist Paul Carrol, 37, of Bridgeport was injured last Sunday when someone opened fire as they rode with a group of motorcyclists. State police haven't made any arrests and said they have no evidence the shooting stemmed from a rivalry between the Hells Angels and another motorcycle gang. (AP Photo/Douglas Healey)
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The founder of the infamous Hells Angels motorcycle club has sued HBO, claiming the pay cable network cut him out of an upcoming pilot he helped develop, it was reported.

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

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the series "1%" 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 suit that he and Tolkin pitched HBO on a motorcycle club-centered series. The cable network turned to Tolkin to create it.


Photos: Celebrity Circuit
Among the objections Barger lists in the suit 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 suit 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.