A biographical film, or biopic ( // ; abbreviation for biographical motion picture), is a film that dramatizes the life of a non-fictional or historically-based person or people. Such films show the life of a historical person and the central character's real name is used. They differ from docudrama films and historical drama films in that they attempt to comprehensively tell a single person's life story or at least the most historically important years of their lives.[ original research? ]
Biopic scholars include George F. Custen of the College of Staten Island and Dennis P. Bingham of Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis. Custen, in Bio/Pics: How Hollywood Constructed Public History (1992), regards the genre as having died with the Hollywood studio era, and in particular, Darryl F. Zanuck.On the other hand, Bingham's 2010 study Whose Lives Are They Anyway? The Biopic as Contemporary Film Genre shows how it perpetuates as a codified genre using many of the same tropes used in the studio era that has followed a similar trajectory as that shown by Rick Altman in his study, Film/Genre . Bingham also addresses the male biopic and the female biopic as distinct genres from each other, the former generally dealing with great accomplishments, the latter generally dealing with female victimization. Ellen Cheshire's Bio-Pics: a life in pictures (2014) examines UK/US films from the 1990s and 2000s. Each chapter reviews key films linked by profession and concludes with further viewing list. Christopher Robé has also written on the gender norms that underlie the biopic in his article, "Taking Hollywood Back" in the 2009 issue of Cinema Journal. Roger Ebert defended The Hurricane and distortions in biographical films in general, stating "those who seek the truth about a man from the film of his life might as well seek it from his loving grandmother. ... The Hurricane is not a documentary but a parable."
Casting can be controversial for biographical films. Casting is often a balance between similarity in looks and ability to portray the characteristics of the person. Anthony Hopkins felt that he should not have played Richard Nixon in Nixon because of a lack of resemblance between the two.[ citation needed ] The casting of John Wayne as Genghis Khan in The Conqueror was objected to because of the American Wayne being cast as the Mongol warlord. Egyptian critics criticized the casting of Louis Gossett, Jr., an African American actor, as Egyptian president Anwar Sadat in the 1982 TV miniseries Sadat . Also, some objected to the casting of Jennifer Lopez in Selena because she is a New York City native of Puerto Rican descent while Selena was Mexican-American.
Because the figures portrayed are actual people, whose actions and characteristics are known to the public (or at least historically documented), biopic roles are considered some of the most demanding of actors and actresses.[ citation needed ] Ben Kingsley, Johnny Depp, Jim Carrey, Robert Downey Jr, Jamie Foxx and Eddie Redmayne all gained new-found respect as dramatic actors after starring in biopics:[ citation needed ] Kingsley as Mahatma Gandhi in Gandhi (1982), Depp as Ed Wood in Ed Wood (1994), Carrey as Andy Kaufman in Man on the Moon (1999), Downey as Charlie Chaplin in Chaplin (1992), Foxx as Ray Charles in Ray (2004), and Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything (2014).
Some biopics purposely stretch the truth. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind was based on game show host Chuck Barris' widely debunked yet popular memoir of the same name, in which he claimed to be a CIA agent. [ citation needed ] The Errol Flynn film They Died with Their Boots On tells the story of Custer but is highly romanticized. The Oliver Stone film The Doors , mainly about Jim Morrison, was highly praised for the similarities between Jim Morrison and actor Val Kilmer, look-wise and singing-wise, but fans and band members did not like the way Val Kilmer portrayed Jim Morrison, and a few of the scenes were even completely made up.Kafka incorporated both the life of author Franz Kafka and the surreal aspects of his fiction.
In rare cases, sometimes called auto biopics,the subject of the film plays himself or herself. Examples include Jackie Robinson in The Jackie Robinson Story (1950), Muhammad Ali in The Greatest (1977), Audie Murphy in To Hell and Back (1955), Patty Duke in Call Me Anna (1990), Bob Mathias in The Bob Mathias Story (1954), Arlo Guthrie in Alice's Restaurant (1969), Fantasia Barrino in Life Is Not a Fairytale (2006), and Howard Stern in Private Parts (1997).
The musical biopic Bohemian Rhapsody , based on the life of Queen singer Freddie Mercury, became the highest-grossing biopic of all time in 2018.
Quentin Tarantino is critical of biographical films, which the director said were "just big excuses for actors to win Oscars". Tarantino decries the genre as "corrupted cinema".
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John Paul Densmore is an American musician, songwriter, author and actor. He is best known as the drummer of the rock band the Doors, and as such is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He appeared on every recording made by the band, with drumming inspired by jazz and world music as much as by rock and roll.
Raymond Daniel Manzarek Jr. was an American musician, singer, producer, film director, and author. He was best known as a member of the Doors from 1965 to 1973, which he co-founded with singer and lyricist Jim Morrison.
The Doors is a 1991 American biographical film about the 1960–1970s rock band of the same name, which emphasizes the life of its lead singer, Jim Morrison. It was directed by Oliver Stone, and stars Val Kilmer as Morrison and Meg Ryan as Pamela Courson. The film features Kyle MacLachlan as keyboardist Ray Manzarek, Frank Whaley as guitarist Robby Krieger, Kevin Dillon as drummer John Densmore, and Kathleen Quinlan as journalist Patricia Kennealy.
Dexter Fletcher is an English film director and actor. He has appeared in Guy Ritchie's Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, as well as in television shows such as the comedy-drama Hotel Babylon, the HBO series Band of Brothers and, earlier in his career, starred as Spike Thomson in the comedy-drama Press Gang. His earliest acting role was playing Baby Face in the 1976 film Bugsy Malone.
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Bryan Jay Singer is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. He is the founder of Bad Hat Harry Productions and has produced or co-produced almost all of the films he has directed.
Joseph Francis Mazzello III is an American actor, director, and screenwriter. He is best known for his roles as Tim Murphy in Jurassic Park, Eugene Sledge in the HBO miniseries The Pacific, Dustin Moskovitz in The Social Network and Queen bass player John Deacon in the biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.
The Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor is an award presented by the Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association. It is given in honor of an actor who has delivered an outstanding performance in a leading role.
Rami Said Malek is an American actor. He is known for portraying computer hacker Elliot Alderson in the USA Network television series Mr. Robot (2015–2019), for which he received accolades such as the 2016 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, and as Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury in the biopic Bohemian Rhapsody (2018), for which he received awards such as the Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, and British Academy Film Award for Best Actor. He has received multiple other accolades, and is the first actor of Egyptian heritage to win the Academy Award for Best Actor. Time magazine named Malek one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2019.
Edward "Eddie" John David Redmayne is an English actor. He is the recipient of various accolades, including an Academy Award, a Tony Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a BAFTA Award. He began his professional acting career as a youth in West End theatre before making his screen debut in 1996 with guest television appearances. His first films were Like Minds and The Good Shepherd, both in 2006, and he went on to play supporting roles in several films.
Allen Leech is an Irish actor best known for his role as Tom Branson on the historical drama series Downton Abbey and as Paul Prenter in the 2018 biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. He made his professional acting debut with a small part in a 1998 production of A Streetcar Named Desire, made his first major film appearance as Vincent Cusack in Cowboys & Angels, and earned an Irish Film & Television Awards nomination in 2004 with his performance as Mo Chara in Man About Dog. Leech played Marcus Agrippa on the HBO historical drama series Rome.
Lucy Boynton is a British-American actress. She made her film debut as the young Beatrix Potter in Miss Potter (2006). She acted in the films Copperhead (2013), Sing Street (2016), Murder on the Orient Express (2017) and Apostle (2018), then portrayed Mary Austin in the biographical film Bohemian Rhapsody (2018). Boynton currently stars as Astrid Sloan in the Netflix series The Politician and will portray singer Marianne Faithfull in the upcoming biopic Faithfull (2021).
The Theory of Everything is a 2014 biographical romantic drama film directed by James Marsh. Set at the University of Cambridge, it details the life of the theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking. It was adapted by Anthony McCarten from the 2007 memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen by Jane Hawking, which deals with her relationship with her ex-husband Stephen Hawking, his diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and his success in the field of physics. The film stars Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, with Charlie Cox, Emily Watson, Simon McBurney, Christian McKay, Harry Lloyd, and David Thewlis featured in supporting roles. The film had its world premiere at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival on 7 September 2014. It had its UK premiere on 1 January 2015.
Gwilym Lee is a British actor. He is known for his roles in The Tourist (2010), A Song for Jenny (2015), Jamestown (2017), Top End Wedding (2018), Midsomer Murders, and playing guitarist Brian May in the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody (2018).
Bohemian Rhapsody is a 2018 biographical drama film about Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of the British rock band Queen. It was directed by Bryan Singer from a screenplay by Anthony McCarten, and produced by Graham King and Queen manager Jim Beach. It stars Rami Malek as Mercury, with Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joe Mazzello, Aidan Gillen, Tom Hollander, Allen Leech, and Mike Myers in supporting roles. Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor served as consultants. A British-American venture, the film was produced by 20th Century Fox, Regency Enterprises, GK Films, and Queen Films, with Fox serving as distributor. The film follows the singer's life from the formation of the band up to their 1985 Live Aid performance at the original Wembley Stadium.
Nobody's Fool is a 2018 American romantic comedy film written and directed by Tyler Perry. It stars Tiffany Haddish, Tika Sumpter, Omari Hardwick, Mehcad Brooks, Amber Riley and Whoopi Goldberg, and follows a recently paroled woman who tries to help her sister with a man who may be catfishing her. The film marks Tyler Perry's first R-rated comedy, as well as his first film not to be distributed by Lionsgate.
The United States vs. Billie Holiday is an upcoming American biographical drama film directed by Lee Daniels, based on the book Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs by Johann Hari. Andra Day stars in the lead role of Billie Holiday, along with Trevante Rhodes, Natasha Lyonne, and Garrett Hedlund.