As the “will there or won’t there be an Amy-biopic” drama unfolds, it seems appropriate and fun to revisit the issue of who the ideal lead actor might be. Folks who missed my original speculative thoughts on that subject – and other movie related matters – can read them here:
Proponents of a quality biopic who are watching the current yes/no drama likely have little to worry about. Once the conditions – some of which I previously speculated about – are met to the satisfaction of those in control of AJW’s music, a positive outcome is probably near certain. It’s nice that fans are privileged to watch the earliest stages of the “decision making” process, even if the skillful moves become confusing to some. One likely certainty is that there are currently no plans for a movie.
So, let’s talk about actors.
My Lead Actor Shortlist:
It’s no secret that I have been a Lea booster since long before GLEE was ever contemplated. I told you years ago that she had destiny’s starlight shining on her; when she steps on stage, everybody standing near her goes into soft focus and the Lea Star is the only one you see blazing.
In my view, Broadway has not produced a greater talent in decades. Lea has the potential to be as big as Streisand; her choices and time will determine the outcome of my predictions. Lea’s inclusion in my short list has nada to do with my high regard for her; she is a legit and rightful member of the mix.
Lea Michele – Background Details:
Lea Michele – wiki
Lea Michele – IMDB
Lea Performs “I Dreamed A Dream” – GLEE Featuring Idina Menzel
Lea Performs “Don’t Stop Believing” – GLEE Ensemble
Lea Michele – Facebook Page
Some folks know Dana as a previous ensemble player on Mancow’s Morning Madhouse radio show, but she is actually an experienced and skilled actor, singer and comic. She is best know to Amy fans as the actor/singer who portrayed Amy in the House of Winehouse tribute band.
Dana’s experience in “parody” has been seen as a negative by some playing the “pick an Amy player” game, but most such critics seem to have no grasp of what “acting” is really about. Actors are cast based on a belief that – with experienced guidance – they can deliver the vision of writers and directors; not according to what other genres they have performed in.
Dana DeLorenzo – Background Details:
Dana – IMDB
Dana Photo File – House of Winehouse Website
Dana Performs “You’re Wondering Now”
House of Winehouse – Facebook Page
Stefani Germanotta – aka “Lady Gaga” – Background Details
Stefani Germanotta – wiki
Stefani Germanotta – IMDB
Stefani Performs “The Edge Of Glory.”
Stefani Performs “Merry The Night” – Official Video
Lady Gaga – Facebook Page
To anchor the “Amy Franchise” firmly and in a manner that will guarantee its value to the Amy Winehouse Foundation for decades, the first biopic must:
1. Tell the story with integrity, respect and truth as its primary watchwords.
2. Be presented with a reasonable and appropriate amount of artistic style.
3. Be a commercial success.
Absent the first element, the film should not – and likely would not – be made. A box-office hit, bearing reasonable artistic merit, will pave the way for subsequent “art flicks” that will explore different aspects of their subject. A box-office flop will destroy the franchise and preclude or long delay any future attempts at “art.” Thus, the challenge out of the gate is to make an artistically sound film that gauges its success in commercial terms.
Great scripts – in the hands of experienced directors – can often overcome the weaknesses of mediocre actors, but competent actors cannot often overcome a sloppy script and incompetent direction. When we contemplate “the players” in the first AJW-biopic, we have to suppose that both the script and the director are worldclass-perfect; there is no reason to suspect that will not be the case.
We must also note that trying to get close to a completed shooting-script prior to the publication of the Mitch Winehouse memoir, Amy, My Daughter would be imprudent. (All proceeds from the book’s sales are pledged to the Amy Winehouse Foundation. Hopefully, the film rights can be “leased” and not sold; another near-permanent cash cow for the AWF.)
The details in that book will likely be so additive to the truth of any existing record that to produce a film without them would be foolhardy. The book will not be published until late 2012; a waiting period that should help calm the fans who are lamenting that it is “too soon” for a movie. Between late 2013 and late 2014 seems about the right time for the flick to hit screens.
Each of the actors on my shortlist love and respect Amy and would do NOTHING to dishonor or wrongfully exploit her memory. They each understand that the real and true story is one of an artistic genius in search of emotional completion; not one about the physical symptoms of a disease. Stefani is the ONE actor short-listed with the “power” to help guarantee that such a maxim is strictly enforced from start to finish.
Folks who think that an actor who bears the “Gaga persona” is not perfectly appropriate to capture the essence of Amy, lose site of the fact that the “Gaga character” is the creation of a skilled business-person, a competent actor and a highly-trained musician. We call the craft “acting” because it is about transformation and mirroring; it’s about “pretending” so well that the results become convincingly real. Previous roles played are largely irrelevant to all but the most lazy casting directors. With Stefani in the lead, the audience WILL see the “essence” they expect and have a right to demand.
Stefani on The View; hear the words, absorb the unsubtle fashion clues.
Stefani’s de facto pre-audition for her first major film role played out adequately on the 2011 MTV-MVA Show.
The process of “mainstreaming” Stefani began with Duets II.
Stefani’s mainstreaming campaign collected big-time on Thanksgiving night. Americans in “flyover country” watched and fell in love with a new sweetheart. She can now deliver demographics to an Amy-project that no other actor can.
Because the “Amy Franchise” cannot grow and prosper without its first film effort performing very well at the cash register, Stefani is the only safe pick to lead the charge. While NO actor can guarantee a money maker, Stefani is as close to such a guarantor as can possibly be found.
To those of us who love Amy, she is “everything” and it is easy for us to assume that everybody else must feel the same way; that assumption is faulty. While the Amy legend now has tremendous momentum, it is uncertain that such “Big Mo” – on its own – will translate into a solid box-office success two-years+ from now. Remember, if only every AJW fan queued up for the first big-budget film, the chance for a massive commercial success would be diminished. The first movie needs the power of a “Super Star” to deliver the greater demographics that will earn the financial win required to help permanently secure the franchise.
Folks who want to experiment with lesser-known actors in the lead are promoting a risk that, in my view, the franchise simply cannot afford to take. A failed effort on the FIRST shot may long preclude future shots; maybe forever.
Following the commercial success of the initial film, the creative doors will open wide to many fine actors, writers and directors; in many venues. Stage plays, musical revues, additional films, BBC/PBS productions, even Cirque Du Soleil resident and touring companies are all in the deck, if the FIRST cards dealt are winners. Stefani is the right actor to help stack that deck and mark those cards in favor of the franchise‘s longevity.
During the balance of this century, the Amy Winehouse Foundation has the opportunity to better the lives of hundreds-of-thousands of young people. Aside from the strong commitment of the AWF’s founders, operators and volunteers, the greatest asset the foundation has is the “Amy Franchise.” That sacred treasure must be guarded as closely as any golden goose and it must be kept in maximum productive mode forever; a commercially successful initial biopic will help assure that result.
In time, an entry here will speculate about the potential merits of sundry other players and directors that might be contemplated to work on any prospective first “Amy Movie.”
Stay tuned for updates.