How To Make A Rock Biopic That Doesn’t Suck


Taking a break as every American pre-teen’s non-threatening crush of choice, Gossip Girl’s Penn Badgeley is stepping into Jeff Buckley’s, I don’t know, loafers? – for a forthcoming biopic of the star. Before taking up this heady mantle, Badgeley might need a little instruction in the rights and wrongs of the genre.

DO merrily live up to general preconceptions of your subject, irking their nearest and dearest in the process. Especially if your subject is posturing twat Jim Morrison – as Val Kilmer did in Oliver Stone’s The Doors. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend, man.

DON’T, however, do this to the point of embarrassing rock and roll caricature as Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart exemplified in the god-awful The Runaways – rendering the trailblazing rock band one plectrum necklace short of The Pretty Reckless. In fact, stop whatever it is you’re doing and stop Fanning appearing in forthcoming The Shaggs biopic before she defecates all over another cult girl band’s legacy.


DO learn guitar – then ape whoever you’re portraying as well as Joaquin Phoenix in Walk The Line.

DON’T follow this with I’m Still Here.

Do deliver a performance as mellifluously and wordlessly perfect as Michael Pitt’s Cosby-sweatered approximation of Kurt Cobain, in Gus Van Sant’s Last Days. Also, draft Kim Gordon in for a neat little cameo. Also, be as dreamy as Michael Pitt.

DON’T be put off besting Courtney Love at auditions with your portrayal of Sid Vicious’s unbalanced groupie girlfriend Nancy Spungen. Affecting such dizzying mental harpy heights is a good thing. Sort of.

DO amalgamate two icons into one, as Ewan McGregor’s tasty cocktail of both Lou Reed and Iggy Pop demonstrated in Velvet Goldmine. Do give this character as preposterously inflated a name as CURT WILD. Do try and get off with Jonathan Rhys Meyers, even if it’s not in the script.

DON’T let bothersome trivialities such as ‘not-got-exactly-the-right-genitals’ get in the way of being the best Bob Dylan ever. Like Cate Blanchett in I’m Not There.

DO turn the volume up to eleven. Obv.