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Sound And Vision: Justin Timberlake as Elton John and Six Other Wish-List Music Biopics

Every great screen biography of a music superstar needs three key ingredients to really sing: 1) An icon with the greatest story never told. 2) A talented lead actor or actress gunning for an Oscar nomination”singing talent and striking resemblance optional (Angela Bassett didn’t sing a word in What’s Love Got to Do with It, and she looks nothing like the film’s subject, yet she was Tina Turner). 3) Kick-ass songs.


Fantasia Barrino
as gospel great Mahalia Jackson is coming soon. The Elton John Story (aka Rocketman) is reportedly finally in the works (I’d cast Justin Timberlake over mentioned favorite James McAvoy and pray that he can nail a British accent), as is Aretha Franklin’s (with or without Halle Berry, the Queen of Soul’s No. 1 choice), Anne Hathaway as Judy Garland and Sacha Baron Cohen as Freddie Mercury.

Robert Pattinson was announced as a possible Kurt Cobain at one point last year, but it’s hard to imagine that we’d get the true story as long as Courtney Love is around to kill it or put her spin on it. Ryan Gosling has the chops to pull off Cobain, but he’s already in everything and he’s several years older than Cobain was when he committed suicide. Note to aspiring biopic producers: One doesn’t have to cast a “star” as the star. Some biopics (Amadeus, starring Tom Hulce as Mozart; La vie en rose, with Marion Cotillard as Edith Piaf) do just fine without huge names.

Now that she’s gone too soon, too, it’s probably only a matter of time before we get Amy Winehouse‘s “untold” story. Note to aspiring biopic producers: Tabloid-era stars are best left alone unless, as with Eminem’s 8 Mile, the focus is on life before they were famous. Otherwise, we’ve already seen the action play out in the pages of Us Weekly and People magazine.

But what about those biopics in various stages of development and non-development? Here are six that I’m dying to see.

1) David Bowie: The star. The spectacle. The songs… Iman. I can’t think of a rock icon whose story is more deserving of the screen treatment. It would be a shoo-in for the Best Costume Design Oscar, and with a star like Jonathan Rhys Meyers (who already played a Bowie-esque figure to perfection in the 1998 film Velvet Goldmine), an actor worthy of the material.

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

Jewel performs undercover karaoke

So, just for kicks and because Funny Or Die told her to, Jewel dressed up as a sheepish business woman with glasses and a fake nose and hit up the Gas Light karaoke bar for some good old fashioned pranking. After being coaxed to the stage by her fake co-workers, Jewel belted out a bunch of her own material. Spoiler alert: She sounds just like herself. Check out the video below.

Carlos Santana proposes to girlfriend onstage

It’s not often that a rock legend pops the question to his drummer in the middle of a concert. This Monday at a concert in Chicago, Carlos Santana boldly went where few have gone before, and proposed to his girlfriend and band member, Cindy Blackman, after her drum solo on Corazon Espinado. Must have been some solo.

The Bad

Lady Gaga sullies John Lennon’s piano

Lady and the Piano

Oh no she di’int! Sean Lennon posted pics of Lady Gaga in her usual studs and fishnets uniform playing his father’s iconic Steinway piano. With gaga at mom’s house, she’s belting on the white piano, Lennon tweeted. Well, Beatles fans weren’t having that, and unleashed a torrent of protestations, e.g. WHY WOULD YOU LET LADY GAGA PLAY ON JOHN’S PIANO? Lennon responded with, What should we do, lock it away in a dusty room? So judgmental¦Come on, lighten up. Yeah guys, lighten up. Remember, purple tear drops she cries ¦ you don’t want that getting on a white piano.

The Ugly

Edward Cullen gives Courtney Love the what-for

Robert Pattinson

After rumors circulated that Twilight star Robert Pattinson might be cast as Kurt Cobain in a biopic, Courtney Love, of course, had to vent her spleen in a public way. And when you start talking smack about a vampire, the fangs come out. R-Patz lashed back in an interview with the Daily Mirror, calling Love a dick, which makes him sound less like Cobain and more like his Love-hating Nirvana bandmates David Grohl and Chris Novoselic. Isn’t Pattinson amazing?

Miscellany