The trajectory of the life of a rock 'n' roll star and the Hollywood movie go hand in hand. Our protagonist is often a tortured genius, raised from the gutter to the glitz and glamour of fame, drunk on its toxic alchemy of drink, drugs, and destructive romance. There might be a sense of a life wasted, an element of martyrdom about their end, or even better, a comeback. The excesses of stardom are nixed in favor of a simpler life where the protagonist finds comfort in walking their dog on the beach over snorting mountains of white powder.
The new James Brown biopic, Get On Up, set for release today, should provide examples of some of the above and then some. Born in a shack in Georgia, and raised for a time in a brothel, Brown exploded from the southern "chitlin circuit" scene, breaking new ground in music, performance, and badassedness. Against the turbulent backdrop of the Vietnam and civil rights era, the "Godfather of Soul" became a spokesman for black America, creating challenging, exhilarating music, frenetic live shows while sporting increasingly wild costumes and hairdos. There is of course the darker side -- substance abuse and car crash relationships -- and an element of career twilight redemption in there to boot. It's surprising that Hollywood didn't latch onto this sooner after his 2006 Christmas Day death.
Here's a list of other artists whose larger than life antics could provide fodder for Hollywood.More »