NEW YORK TG - The actress Scarlett Johansson is taking legal action against a French novelist who created a character that resembled her.

Gregoire Delacourt’s novel The first thing you look at, published in March, features a woman initially referred to as “Scarlett Johansson”. Sixty pages later it is revealed that the woman is not the American actress, but someone who looks like her - a young Frenchwoman named Jeanine.

Johansson is taking JC Lattes, publisher of Mr Delacourt’s book, to court for “breach and fraudulent use of personal rights,” as well as a ban on “future transfer of rights and adaptations of the book.”

Mr Delacourt told French broadcaster RTL that he was left “speechless” on being informed of the law suit. “I had thought it more likely that she’d call and invite me for a coffee,” he said. “It’s a bit silly that you can mention a person in a novel, and then the law gets involved - it’s quite sad.”

Mr Delacourt told Le Figaro that he suspected Johansson had not even read the novel, because it was only published in French. However, the 28-year-old’s boyfriend, Romain Dauriac, is French. The author said that his book was a love story featuring invented characters, adding that two others were compared to Ryan Gosling and Gene Hackman.

“This corresponds with the fantasies of our times,” he said. “All these famous people live with us. “But I wrote a book of fiction. My character is not Scarlett Johansson, it is Jeanine Foucaprez.”