Practices of Verisimilitude in Pop Music Biopics: A Conversation with Todd Eckert and James Anthony Pearson on Control, and Nick Moran on Telstar

Jon Stewart, Liam Maloy, Benjamin Halligan

Abstract


The arresting look and feel of two recent British music biopics, Control (directed by Anton Corbijn, 2007) and Telstar: The Joe Meek Story (directed by Nick Moran, 2008), prompts a reconsideration of questions of realism and authenticity – rationales, strategies, practices and constructions – in the historical popular music biopic. The first-hand accounts collated here highlight the ways in which verisimilitude can be compromised by the production process, particularly in relation to budget restrictions and expectations, performance limitations, equipment and props use, contemporary or period dialogue, music copyright, and a myriad other issues and challenges relating to the production of “period” cinema.
10.5429/2079-3871(2017)v7i1.3en

Keywords


Film; Biopics, Fandom, Production, Verisimilitude, Realism

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References


Bibliography

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Videography

A Kind of Loving. 1962. Dir. John Schlesinger, Anglo-Amalgamated / Governor Films.

Amadeus. 1984. Dir. Milos Forman, The Saul Zaentz Company / Orion Pictures.

A Taste of Honey. 1961. Dir. Tony Richardson, Woodfall Film Productions / British Lion Films.

Beat Girl. 1960. Dir. Edmund T. Gréville, Renown Pictures / Victoria Films.

Billy Liar. 1963. Dir. John Schlesinger, Vic Films Productions / Waterfall Productions / Anglo-Amalgamated Film Distributors / Warner-Pathe.

Control. 2007. Dir. Anton Corbijn, Momentum Pictures / The Weinstein Company.

Expresso Bongo. 1959. Dir. Val Guest, British Lion Films.

Lisztomania. 1975. Dir. Ken Russell, GoodTimes Enterprises / Visual Programme Systems Limited / Warner Bros.

Live It Up! 1963. Dir. Lance Comfort, Rank Organisation.

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. 1998. Dir. Guy Ritchie, HandMade Films / SKA Films / The Steve Tisch Company / Summit Entertainment / PolyGram Filmed Entertainment.

Mahler. 1974. Dir. Ken Russell, Mayfair Films / Visual Programme Systems Limited.

Play It Cool. 1962. Dir. Michael Winner, Independent Artists / Coronado Productions Ltd. / Anglo-Amalgamated Film Distributors.

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. 1960. Dir. Karel Reisz, Woodfall Film Productions / Bryanston Films.

Sid and Nancy. 1986. Dir. Alex Cox, Palace Pictures / The Samuel Goldwyn Company.

Sparrows Can’t Sing. 1963. Dir. Joan Littlewood, Elstree Distributors.

Telstar: The Joe Meek Story. 2008. Dir. Nick Moran, Aspiration Films / G2 Pictures.

The Crying Game.1992. Dir. Neil Jordan, Palace Pictures / Channel 4 Films / British Screen.

The Day the Earth Caught Fire. 1961. Dir. Val Guest, Val Guest Productions / British Lion Films / Universal International Pictures.

The Doors. 1991. Dir. Oliver Stone, Bill Graham Films / Carolco Pictures / Imagine Entertainment / Ixtlan / Tri-Star Pictures.

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. 1962. Dir. Tony Richardson, Woodfall Film Productions / British Lion Films.

The Music Lovers. 1970. Dir. Ken Russell, Russ-Arts / United Artists.

This Sporting Life. 1963. Dir. Lindsay Anderson, Rank Organisation / Janus Films.

Tommy. 1975. Dir. Ken Russell, RSO Records / Columbia Pictures.

Discography

Heinz. 1963. “Just Like Eddie”. Decca. July, UK.

John Leyton. 1961. “Johnny Remember Me”. Top Rank International. August, UK.

The Honeycombs. 1964. “Have I the Right?” Pye Records. July, UK.

The Sex Pistols. 1977. “God Save the Queen”. Virgin / A&M. 27 May, UK.

The Tornadoes. 1962. “Telstar”. Decca. 17 August, UK.

Interviews

Todd Eckert. 2017. Interviewed by Liam Maloy, Nottingham, 11 Jan.

Nick Moran. 2017. Interviewed by Jon Stewart, London, 10 Jan.

James Anthony Pearson. 2016. Interviewed by Liam Maloy, Nottingham, 21 Dec.




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