Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Made him an offer he couldn't refuse?


Al Pacino set to play Phil Spector in new rock biopic.

This is the news that greeted me as I flicked on the news this morning. Al Pacino? Michael Corlenone? (The Godfather), Tony Montana? (Scarface), the Devil! (Devils Advocate) is now up for the roll of Rock and Roll pop producer and genius Phil Spector (currently serving 19 years to life for murder). It does sound a juicy plot that would have Hollywood rubbing their hands, a story of a teen genius, millionaire by 21, pioneer in the industry, number 1 records, rubbing shoulders with everyone from The Beatles to Elvis then to become a virtual recluse in his gothic mansion while his muse and then wife was kept under almost lock and key due to his growing jealousy and obsessive nature. The rock and roll Howard Hughes. But Al Pacino? You got to be kidding.

Al Pacino plays the tough guy rolls well. You believe him. Phil Spector was never a tough guy, he hung around with tough guys, paid big strong ex-cops to be his bodyguards, and he was always carrying a gun or two but would hope to never have to be in the situation where his bluff was called (in his teenage years his bluff was indeed called and the actions that happened mentally scarred him for the rest of his life)

Al Pacino likes to shout in his movies…he’s a shouter…Spector is petulant , he throws tantrums like a spoiled child when he doesn’t get is way…i.e. you want to leave his home after 8 hours of not doing anything (see his time with The Ramones for more details)

In the late 90s rock journalist and film maker Cameron Crowe wanted to make a definitive Phil Spector movie and even cast Tom Cruise in the lead but it fell apart as he could never get the 3rd act of the movie script to end with a satisfying conclusion. One fell into his lap with the eventual court case and imprisonment but I don’t think it was what he wanted when he first envisioned Phil’s comeback record with UK band Starsailor being the start of something wonderful to come.

Al Pacino is a wonderful actor, one of the best ever in my opinion but I think he would be drastically mis-cast as this role. I’m sure he is more than capable of pulling off a performance that wouldn’t be embarrassing but for a figure like Phil Spector a little more is needed. I would personally select Paul Reubens as a candidate. I know people will assume I’m joking but I think he would nail it. He is a great actor and has just enough of the madness within to be childish yet serious. His performance in “Blow” with Johnny Depp proved he was much more than just Pee Wee Herman. He might not be as bankable to the producers as a big name like Pacino but he’ll make the art needed and for someone like Spector it’s the art that matters.

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