The trouble with #biopics
Someone made a movie about Morrissey. His best friend slammed it and called it historical fiction. There has been a steady stream of true life stories in cinemas recently and a healthy dose of criticism accompanying it. Who could forget the almost World War 3 over Zone Saldana playing Nina Simone.
Before that, there was the incredibly iffy Last King of Scotland, recently Don Cheadle created a whole new person in the character played by Ewan Macgregor to make a movie about Miles Davis investable. Or so Don Cheadle said. Jada Pinkett Smith was not too happy about how she was portrayed in All Eyez On Me.
Nick Broomfield went ahead with a biopic about Whitney Houston although the family refused to cooperate. Given that biopics are essentially 90 minutes of a couple of decades, can they be truly accurate or simply an accurate representation of the people whose lives they portray? Do you care whether a fiction film about a public figure, is 100% accurate or do you think that fiction means it is a slightly ‘arranged’ account?
Should you make a fiction film without the permission of the person or their representatives? One would argue that when a biopic is authorised, it can do PR wonders. Case study, New Edition.