Paging Owen Wilson. Steely Dan wants an apology.
The veteran group behind such jazz-rock hits as “Rikki Don’t Lose that Number” says Wilson ripped off its Grammy-winning tune “Cousin Dupree” for his title role as a slacker in the new comedy “You, Me and Dupree.”
In a 10-paragraph letter posted July 17 on Steely Dan’s Web site, and addressed to Wilson’s brother Luke, band leaders Walter Becker and Donald Fagen asked Owen Wilson to appear at a show in Irvine, Calif., to apologize to the band’s fans.
Wilson, in return, would get Steely Dan merchandise and a chance to party with the group.
“He would have to cop to the fact that what he and his Hollywood gangster pals did was wrong and that he wishes he had never agreed to get involved with this turkey in the first place,” says the pair.
Becker and Fagen claim that “some hack writer or producer” heard Steely Dan’s “Cousin Dupree,” about a hormonal houseguest, and “when it came time to change the character’s name or whatever so people wouldn’t know what a rip the whole thing was, they didn’t even bother to think up a new (expletive) name for the guy!”
They go on to trash the movie (a “summer stinkbomb”) and Wilson.
“Instant karma is a fact, Jack,” the pair writes.
If karma doesn’t get the actor, they say, then an apparent tough guy they know might.
“One time we saw this guy, with his bare hands, do something so unspeakable, that — but, hey man, let’s not even let it get that way, you know?” say Becker and Fagen.
Larry Solters, a spokesman for the band’s management company, declined to comment on any details beyond the letter, including whether Wilson showed up to the July 19 concert or if legal action would be taken.
In 2001, “Cousin Dupree” landed a Grammy for best pop performance by a duo or group from Steely Dan’s album “Two Against Nature,” which also snagged album of the year.
The group, known for a string of ’70s hits, has been on tour since July 7 with Michael McDonald.
“You, Me and Dupree” co-stars Kate Hudson and Matt Dillon as a newlywed couple annoyed by Wilson’s Dupree, a partier who crashes out on their couch.
Owen Wilson’s publicist Ina Treciokas and Luke Wilson’s publicist Mara Buxbaum both declined to comment.