Hollywood loves to self mythologise

Hollywood can appear self-satisfied and insular at the best of times, but it’s been a rough few months even by Tinseltown standards. Judging by the slew of trailers that have dropped in recent weeks, this season in cinema land will centre on only one thing: biopics. From Madonna and Marilyn Monroe to Elvis (and even Hillary Rodham Clinton) it’s time for a barrage of films in which big stars play bigger stars – in return for your adoration.  Hollywood’s fixation on global fame might not be entirely new – Ben Kingsley’s turn in Gandhi is about to reach its 40th birthday, incidentally – but there’s no getting away from the

The tricky business of music biopics

Along with films about real life authors, poets, comedians and artists, biographies of musicians are notoriously difficult to translate successfully to the cinema screen. Why? Writing and painting aren’t inherently cinematic; live music has more visual potential (hence the greater number of motion pictures). But the challenges of lip-synching and the existence in most cases of plenty of original concert footage raise the stakes for any actor prepared to take on such a role. There’s a real danger of performances falling into pastiche and mimicry. Directors face an even greater predicament when music rights are refused, as was the case with the recent Stardust (2021) where actor/musician Johnny Flynn had