Biopics range from the sublime (Coal Miner’s Daughter) to the shambolic (98.5% of the others).
Who hasn’t experienced that very particular sensation of profound embarrassment while watching, say, Wired or Beyond the Sea or pretty much any movie in which a real person is being impersonated by a badly cast actor, especially one burdened by distracting facial prosthetics?
Why do we get so exercised by “stunt casting” gone wrong, fuming for weeks over Alan Rickman’s performance as Ronald Reagan in The Butler?
Hell, I’m still mad at Alex Cox for making Gary Oldman wear a “hammer and sickle” t-shirt instead of a “swastika” one in Sid & Nancy, and his failure to cast Courtney Love as Oldman’s costar.
Maybe it has something to do with that part of our brain where the “uncanny valley” resides.
As well, we mistakenly believe we “know” famous people — even own them, in a way.
How dare an actor get “our” celebrity wrong! How dare that director cast the wrong person to play him?
The passionate comments beneath this article on Sacha Baron Cohen’s firing from the Freddie Mercury biopic are representative.
Whereas I have no investment in that project (emotional or otherwise), there are dueling Clash biopics in various stages of development, so here’s sensational news for both producers:
Happy to help!