Poor Ewan McGregor. Poor, poor Ewan McGregor. Does the man enjoy humiliation? Does he like pain? Signing up for Star Wars – okay, anyone could make that mistake. Dan Brown adaptation Angels & Demons? Who knows – maybe he was thinking of a different Dan Brown. But his latest move was only ever going to bring misery, and possibly thoughts of killing the director with a rusty coffee spoon. He’s agreed to star in a film directed by Madonna.
I know. Let us all pray for him.
But he’s not the only one. He’s joined in her follow-up to Filth and Wisdom, widely regarded as artistically inferior to your average flip-book, by Up In The Air‘s Oscar-nominated Vera Farmiga, and Abbie Cornish, last seen in Bright Star.
These people are real actors! With actual reputations! Starring in a story about Edward VIII abdicating the throne, with another parallel story set in the modern day, directed by Madonna!
Of course, Madonna’s ongoing quest to break Hollywood is an extreme example, but it does make you wonder if those making the leap from the front of the stage to behind the camera are the ones that really should be.
Take Fred Durst. Did anyone, except perhaps Fred Durst, think he’d make a good director? No. But there he was, making his directorial debut with coming-of-age drama The Education of Charlie Banks (awful, but not that awful), then feel-good sports drama The Longshots (just plain awful-awful: “Every triumph registers low on the emotion meter, and most of the supporting characters are two-dimensional at best,” said the Hollywood reporter, raising the unique possibility of 1D characters).
Sure, the likes of Rob Zombie have found a niche with a certain kind of schlocky horror like House Of 1000 Corpses – to be fair, with that name, you imagine rom-com work was hard to come by – but as for the rest?
Was The Players Club – a film about strippers, written and directed by Ice Cube – ever going to be good? Ever?
Even the great Bob Dylan ended up making a mess of it, with 1978’s surrealist Renaldo And Clara, which clocked in at just under four hours in its original guise.
Nick Cave has been a success of sorts – but as a screenwriter, notably of The Proposition – not a director.
And of course almost more than we could mention have dabbled in some form of film-making – the never-ending conga-line of hip-hop stars having producer credits, The Beatles collectively co-directing The Magical Mystery Tour, Beastie Boy Adam Yauch and his basketball documentary Gunnin’ For That #1 Spot.
But what musician should direct a film? Who’s got the right mix of ego-mania (never a thing hard to come by in musicians) and patience, able to be master of the details, but also see the big picture? (Don’t say Liam Gallagher. It’s so close to something that might actually happen, it’s not even funny.)
Over to you.