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Baldwin Bailout an 'Uphill Battle'

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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TOTAL RECALL Baldwin Alec Baldwin now wants nothing to do with a critical documentary on Arnold Schwarzenegger, but after recording its narration, it sounds like he'll have to suck it up. The producers of Running With Arnold have "absolutely no intention" of granting the left-leaning actor's plea to remove his voice, according to sources close to the film.

"We're going to use this material, and that's the way it is," says one source. "We aren't worried one iota about him trying to file a lawsuit, because he'll lose."

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It may sound like bluster, but it matches the view of Lincoln Bandlow, an entertainment attorney at L.A. firm Leopold, Petrich & Smith. While Baldwin never signed a formal contract, according to the source, he did spend six hours in a studio recording his voiceover, and received a modest payment for his contribution. Although Baldwin has attempted to return the money, his actions are evidence of a binding oral contract, says Bandlow.

"I'm not sure what recourse he has at this point," he adds. "It's an uphill battle. He'd have to bring some kind of right of publicity or trademark action, but first he'd have to get over the hurdle of showing it was an unauthorized use."

Baldwin explained his change of heart Sunday in an entry on the Huffington Post, two days after film biz columnist Nikki Finke reported he'd gotten cold feet. Baldwin wrote that he considered the film's images of Nazi rallies "over the line" and claimed that his attorney had sent the producers a cease-and-desist.

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According to the film insider, however, the letter they received did not actually contain a cease-and-desist order, only some polite language "aimed at starting a dialogue." The filmmakers view Baldwin's late-breaking attack of conscience as a mixed blessing, realizing that a measure of controversy could help attract distributors, if it doesn't scare them off.

"Alec did a good job, a phenomenal job," says the source. "That's why we don't want to give him up."

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