Forums > Queen - Serious Discussion > "Somebody to Love" aka the Freddie film

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Under Pressure user not visiting Queenzone.com
Under Pressure
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Posted: 05 Jun 08, 04:25 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

So I'm halfway through with the screenplay Michael Cunningham (The Hours) has written, and it's RUBBISH. Honestly don't believe the man did any research whatsoever, perhaps not even the quite concise Wikipedia article. While it does ... sort of ... focus on Live Aid, it doesn't really focus on anything. It cuts back and forth mostly between 71, 79, and 85, with a few flashes back to Freddie's boarding school and Persia (Zanzibar?) and flashes forward to '90.

Some choice tidbits include: no personality for the rest of the band, utter lack of tension or character depth, the boys sitting around and snorting coke every five pages (as we all know what a coke fiend Brian is ...), changing the name from Smile to Queen after John's joined ... honestly it's one flub after another.

I truly hope Brian has some say, some kind of advisory capacity if this project were to go through. It's devoid of any charm whatsoever, and reads closer to Velvet Goldmine than anything truly Queen.

Now 3/4 through and there's no real discussion of music, no scenes in the recording studio. It's 1985 and he's still in a romantic relationship with Mary Austin (name changed for whatever reason) and she's jealous of Jim Hutton. The plot seems to be one gay party scene after another, set to songs from GHI, and GHII if lucky. I cannot imagine that a) this film will ever be made b) this man actually has a Pulitzer Prize.

Oh, it's also 1985 and he's already exhibiting Kaposi Sarcoma. Has this "writer" ever heard of research? For serious? Also, apparently Freddie grew up in Persia, and Mary stalks him, is evil, and has a daughter with some random dude out of spite because Freddie won't knock her up.

And then he dies--though obviously we don't see it.

Throughout there are three concert scenes. One of BoRhap live (WTF) "before" it's popular, two are snippets from Live Aid. That is it. No roadies. No recordings. No discussion of their music. No anecdotes. No scenes with Freddie interacting with individual members of the band. No touring. No discussion of charts or popularity, except to say "we're slipping" a few times in '85. Apparently Freddie really had a boner for La Boheme and Montserrat since he was 20, and he solely listened to Opera in his spare time. Also, he's a huge tool at home, has no taste in furniture or art, and only talks about how famous and fabulous he is all the time.

God, what a pompous, terrible piece of writing.


"I always knew I was a star. And now, the rest of the world seems to agree with me." - FM
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Posted: 05 Jun 08, 05:06 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Could you share it with us ? If this is true :-p

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Posted: 05 Jun 08, 05:19 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I'm hesitant to send it around because it was sent to me in confidence, but a little piece of me wants to send it around because if everyone knows how shitty it is, it won't get made. Let me think about it. I may post a few pages up, but not the whole thing.

*also I realize it's copywritten, and since it's unproduced, I could get in trouble if I post a lot of it.


"I always knew I was a star. And now, the rest of the world seems to agree with me." - FM
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Posted: 05 Jun 08, 05:31 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

"Mary Austin (name changed for whatever reason")

Probably to avoid inevitable law suits. Mary Austin is not a public figure and always stayed in the background. There is no "public interest" whatsoever to justify spreading lies about her. Actually, I think that Queen do not need to take it when they are portrayed as coke users when it's not true at all. I am sure they can put this movie on hold for years if they choose to.


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Posted: 05 Jun 08, 05:38 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

It's odd because Mary has done a number of interviews about Garden Lodge and her relationship with Freddie, so it seems odd. No other names in the script were changed.

I think if Brian were to see this he would be very, very offended. Not only as he's portrayed as a drug user, but also because he and Roger and John are BARELY mentioned. It's an 104 page script, and they appear in only 4, 5 scenes, always collectively, with no distinctive voice. It really is hurtful because they had such complicated, long-lasting relationships with one another, and this script makes it seem as if a) Freddie wrote all the songs and was the only one who cared about the material and b) that the other band members didn't know him or interact with him personally. It's quite upsetting.

There are so many amazing anecdotes, from Bowie, Tim Curry, Crystal, Peter Freestone ... NONE of those features in this script. Many of these anecdotes are so telling, like Roger locking himself in the closet, or Freddie finding himself in the Trivial Pursuit game ... but instead it's all replaced with glitter falling from the stars and ships in the sky filled with characters from various operas.

The worst travesty is that it's common knowledge how private and shy Freddie was in his personal life. However this script only reflects the public Freddie, the loud, dandy, temperamental Freddie. It's truly a sad depiction.


"I always knew I was a star. And now, the rest of the world seems to agree with me." - FM
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Posted: 05 Jun 08, 05:49 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Not being a lawyer I am still sure that the movie needs some sort of approval by the Freddie Mercury Estate. For example, I don't think that Yoko Ono would ever allow anything published about John Lennon she does not approve of.


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Posted: 05 Jun 08, 06:14 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Unfortunately the problem comes with people who are famous or in the public eye. There's a film in production right now about George Bush, and there's not a thing he can do about it, because legally he gives up his privacy by being a public figure.

Usually the reason no one would do, say, an unauthorized biopic of John Lennon, is that without the family's help there's little to no chance of getting the rights to use the music in the film. I'd hope that's the case here.

As well, Freddie was SUCH a public figure that I highly doubt a film would be made without verifying some of that information. But bastardizations are made every day in Hollywood ...


"I always knew I was a star. And now, the rest of the world seems to agree with me." - FM
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Posted: 05 Jun 08, 06:28 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

YourValentine wrote:

Not being a lawyer I am still sure that the movie needs some sort of approval by the Freddie Mercury Estate. For example, I don't think that Yoko Ono would ever allow anything published about John Lennon she does not approve of.


Bingo. She doesn't allow anything about him to come out without having herself inserted somewhere she doesn't belong.

This Freddie screenplay sure sounds like a laugh. If it's genuine, I'm not really surprised.... just watch Pearl Harbour for an idea of how accurate a film has to be these days.
If it's a joke - 5 stars from me, it's hilarious!


"Your not funny, your not a good musician, theres a difference between being funny and being an idiot, you obviously being the latter" - Dave R Fuller
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Posted: 05 Jun 08, 08:00 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Guys, say it's not true! Please! I am a screenplay writer myself and am horrified by what you just say here. Is it that bad????? From what I've read here it is awful. I only hope that by some miraculous way we are all somehow mistaken here and that we are talking of another movie. Gee! And can't fan power do something about it? Because obviously Mr. May doesn't have the intention - just visited his soap to check for comments on this - nothing!


And eventhough the time did pass

and memories tired lied,

and we will all be turned to dust

your song shall never die!
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Posted: 05 Jun 08, 08:04 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Sounds awful. Let's hope it does not happen.

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Posted: 05 Jun 08, 08:06 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

And who'll be playing Freddie? Johnny Depp?

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Posted: 05 Jun 08, 08:30 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Will it contain gay sex scenes ?

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Posted: 05 Jun 08, 08:32 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Under Pressure wrote:

.... without the family's help there's little to no chance of getting the rights to use the music in the film. I'd hope that's the case here.


Me too.

Is this THE script? Or are there others? I should think they would want to focus on the music and an accurate story.

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Posted: 05 Jun 08, 08:37 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Under Pressure wrote:

Unfortunately the problem comes with people who are famous or in the public eye. There's a film in production right now about George Bush, and there's not a thing he can do about it, because legally he gives up his privacy by being a public figure.



Yes, that is right - he is a person of historical importance. However, I have seen books being withheld due to lawsuits started by people who see their personality rights harmed on just a few pages in the book. It would be very hard to publish such a film if Queen and maybe some other rich and famous friends of Freddie have serious problems with it, speak out on public or even file lawsuits.


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Posted: 05 Jun 08, 08:57 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

pittrek wrote:

Will it contain gay sex scenes ?


I'll be there!
At the premiere!
Frontrow!
With Kleenex!


Killed by drones.
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Posted: 05 Jun 08, 09:12 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I wouldn't worry about getting the rights to Queen music. They can always get Valensia to write some more ripoffs, that'll work.

I hope this film gets made. It'll boost the membership of Queenzone so much that I can make it my full time job to say 'no, Freddie didn't get KS until 87' or 'John Deacon is still alive'.

Actually, there's a good question. Will Paul Rodgers be in the film?

I fucking hope so.


"Your not funny, your not a good musician, theres a difference between being funny and being an idiot, you obviously being the latter" - Dave R Fuller
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Posted: 05 Jun 08, 09:21 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I think they have a point there. If there are no sex scenes in the movie, no point in doing it.

I'm not trying to be clever, by the way, which I'd never get to be, nor facetious or witty.

It's still premature to do a movie about Freddie. It's going to be unintersting whoever is in charge - it'll be inevitably about coke and so on, which is great, but we had already tons of films about celebrities or talented artists who were destroyed by drugs and alcohol and sex. Why another one, especially after the releasing of the movie about Edith Piaf, which was kind of a killer, gained an oscar and said pretty much the last word about the whole stuff?

The movie about Ray Charles, pretty good, great actor.

About Freddie? No.

I think after studying and playing music since I was a kid, I want to believe I know a little bit about it. I do it for a living. Spent the last days performing, the whole days.

I have talked about music with people specialized in Jazz, Opera, and so on. I had discussions. I learned quite a good deal.

What does it prove? That I'm great? No, there are many people like me and better than me at that, for sure, many, thousands, musicians and non-musicians alike, and that's why I worry.

People still don't understand how talented Freddie was. It's absolutely premature to do a movie about him. His singing style and his compositions are barely understood.

He was one of the very finest popular singers of the last century, ranking above in terms of technique and sophistication, much above, than Ella Fitzgerald, for instance. I had this discussion millions of times, and Freddie comes out as a better singer - I'm talking about qualities that we usually expect singers to have - than most who performed in any field except Opera which is a world of its own - and not really "popular music".

So, unless people begin to understand what the guy was about, sorry, any movie will be pointless - because great movies about artists being destroyed by drugs, sex and so on we hae aplenty. The lay audience, so to say, will find it boring: "Another movie about a star who went the wrong way...". I bet it.

What makes Freddie different is being gay? Well, perhaps.

Though, among others, Cole Porter was gay, and there's a great movie about him. We have had movies about gay relationships which are certainly much better than a movie about Freddie could possibly be. So people will react like: "Another movie about gays...and this is a boring one". It'll be boring because the music is not there and it's the music which makes the difference.

So, unless the gay stuff is given a real good attention, there's no point in releasing the movie.

We need to wait some 10 or 20 years to realize that the guy deserve to be ranked among the very greatest popular singers.

So, I expect a lot of...gay. Gay sex scenes, reflections about aids, and that's it. Because it actually can't be otherwise at the present state.

Strong scenes, very sad atmosphere, a lot of reflections about the trials of being and having been gay at that time, what AIDS is really about, how promiscuous Freddie was, and so on. Then, nice, if that's the point they want to make, I find it legitimate. I just don't know whether the audience will have the patience to go through it, but that's with the producers.


Yara
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Posted: 05 Jun 08, 10:25 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Um, I'll just skip over Yara's post here, and talk about the OP.

The changing Smile to Queen bit with John? Yes, it's an "inaccuracy," but I do hope that people are smart enough to know it happens all the time in biographies, biopics, etc. It's called a composite, a combinations of events to move the story along. Do you think any movie would work that chronicles the succession of Tim Staffell, Mike Grose, Doug Bogie and Barry Mitchell, then John Deacon, then the name change? No.

It's probably a first draft you're reading? What does it say on the title page?

Give Michael Cunningham a chance, will ya? Oscar. Pulitzer. Geez.


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Posted: 05 Jun 08, 10:28 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Also: No roadies? Are we really sorry that there are *no roadies* in the screenplay?

Also: Freddie did coke. Lots of it. It's interesting.

Also: Recording studio scenes are usually do not, like, make for great cinema. It's dark. People are arguing. There are exceptions. I could see maybe the BoRap sessions making it into the movie, but maybe that's because I have a visual memory of watching Brian and Roger in the BBC documentary.


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Posted: 05 Jun 08, 10:57 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Daniel Nester wrote:

Also: No roadies? Are we really sorry that there are *no roadies* in the screenplay?

Also: Freddie did coke. Lots of it. It's interesting.

Also: Recording studio scenes are usually do not, like, make for great cinema. It's dark. People are arguing. There are exceptions. I could see maybe the BoRap sessions making it into the movie, but maybe that's because I have a visual memory of watching Brian and Roger in the BBC documentary.


Hi, Daniel!

Do you think the "coke", or, let's put it in a broader sense, the "artist devastated by drugs" theme is still interesting after so many good movie about it?

Charlie Parker, Ray Charles, Cole Porter, Edith Piaf (a killer, this last one, great movie), Jim Morrisson, just to mention a few who made it into the screen.

Well, Amadaeus highlights a pretty derrailed Mozart, by the way! Great movie. Not much accurate, as you correctly pointed out, but a good movie all the same.

I think the studio scenes in the movie about Ray Charles were stunning. And the actor was incredibly good. So, maybe there's a pontential there to be developed - a new kind of theme the movies could explore.

Because the "drug theme", so to speak, has been over, and well, explored - either in the artistic realm or outside of it (I think about Requiem for a Dream, pretty recent movie, or many other about drug dealing, like American Gangster, just released, great, great movies, great actors).

So, my worry: if that's going to be the gist! (Hahaha. Hey, MasterHistoryGirl!) of the movie, will the audience find it interesting? Well, maybe, I'm skeptical. I think it's a theme that has already been addresses many times in movies.

Music, don't: especially music making. There's a potential there, a surface that the movie industry didn't even begin to tap. So, maybe it's worth trying!

Giving the music a chance!

What can be really interesting, and that's what I'd expect then, is the gay theme. That, yes, I think it's an interesting theme to be addressed: a promiscuous, drug-addicted gay artist who destroyed his life and harmed a lot of people who loved him in the process. There could be reflections, as you were arguing earlier, about whether he should have come out as gay or not.

That I find interesting.

But, really, I doubt, I very much doubt that it will be given a good approach. If the actor is going to be Johnny Depp, that helps, it's a great actor.

Sex scenes would be nice - nothing very explicit, but, you know, conveying the point that there's such thing as a gay sexuality.

Then, yes, interesting.

But it depends on what it'll be done, for sure.






Yara