It’s been a huge 12 months for music documentaries: Amy was a powerful indictment of all who wronged Amy Winehouse or took her talents for granted, the audience included. Montage of Heck also broke records as well as hearts, delving into Kurt Cobain’s never-seen-before personal archives. There’s no forgetting Nick Cave’s surreal and playful 20,000 Days On Earth either. After all these success stories, hopefully more revealing portraits of famous musicians who have long intrigued us are about to be put into production. Here’s 10 artists whose stories we’d love to see brought to screens…
Courtney Love: One of alternative music’s most misunderstood characters, every step of Courtney’s career since the demise of husband Kurt Cobain in 1993 has been plagued by accusations and rumours – that the he wrote her best-known songs, that she had a hand in his death and more. A smartly-done doc could shine a light on the whip-smart, fun, talented goof beneath all the speculation.
Morrissey: There’s few more complex musicians than the former Smith, whose cocktail of charisma and causticness, and decades of brilliant misery-pop, beg exploring on camera. Plenty have told the tale of The Smiths: there’s a half-animated Vic Reeves-narrated doc called These Things Take Time floating around online, for starters. But Moz’s story – and psyche – demand their own screen time.
Elliott Smith: Yeah, yeah: we’ve already had a documentary focusing on the immensely gifted but troubled late Portland talent recently. But where Heaven Adores You was a little sycophantic, steering clear of the question marks that loomed after Smith’s apparent suicide in 2003, a braver film could paint a more holistic portrait of Smith, delving into his darkness.
Aphex Twin: A spasmodic electronica spin on Banksy doc Exit Through The Gift Shop would surely beckon if the ever-unpredictable Richard D James ever granted a documentary crew access to his inner-workings. Known for his surreal and sinister humour, it’d be no run of the mill exercise in celebrating his career, but an artsy experiment that only adds to his intrigue.
Lauryn Hill: The Fugee had the world at her feet following the release of the incredible ‘Miseducation…’ but things went awry. Since that 1998 LP, Hill has made controversial statements on the nature of racism, done time for tax avoidance and accused the US government of various conspiracies. Grant Spike Lee an audience with her and you’d have seriously compelling viewing.
Miley Cyrus: The evolution of FKA Hannah Montana – from Disney Club princess to twerking electro-pop controversy machine to the righteous LGBT-championing punk – has been totally riveting. One of the most outspoken and colourful characters around, Miley doesn’t give a fuck and demands a documentary stepping into the kush cloud insanity of her life.
Kanye West: Yeezy is famously complicated, with a talent for provocative rhymes that has challenged mainstream America to its core: much like Bob Dylan, whose Scorcese-helmed 2005 No Direction Home doc is one of the best ever. Ye’s recently struck up a friendship with 12 Years A Slave director Steve McQueen. Maybe the two of them could cook up something similarly career-spanning and candid?
9Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Rey: So much has been made of the cinematic, faded glamour queen persona Lizzie Grant has inhabited since bursting out of nowheresville on ‘Video Games’ four years ago. A film returning to that nowheresville with Lana, full of all the artsy flair of her music videos, would either strip back or pile on the mystery. Either way, it’d be interesting.
Lee Mavers: The La’s man is the ultimate British indie riddle – a supremely talented crafter of immaculate guitar-pop songs who never followed up the brilliance of his debut album, choosing instead a life of seclusion. A 2003 book in search of him was a gripping read – the same treatment could apply here. As of 2011 there was a plan for one – but it sadly never materialised…