Click the link: Village Voice July 2003 --
If this link does not work, try this one -- Web Archive Village Voice July 2003 --
Read the 2nd paragraph, and be prepared for a bit of smut. I don't even want to copy/paste it here in my LiveJournal.
Your opinions please: Maybe I'm just reacting to Todd Graff's statement out of an initial shock. Maybe Mr. Graff was misquoted, or his statement was embellished by Mr. Musto. Maybe he was mistaken about Jude Law being so enthusiastic about beginning the movie this way.
According to Musto's article, Graff stated that this will be the first scene of the film, the opening scene. Not what I would call setting up the audience to have a real high opinion of the person who was Brian Epstein. After a blow like that right off the bat, with no sympathy built up first, it would be a major struggle to overcome the disgust a lot of people are going to feel about Brian. I was hoping that this film would NOT be made for those of us who are already familiar with Mr Epstein, love him or even think he's hot ... but for everybody to get to know him as the awesome person he was, flaws and all. To do this you've got to achieve a balance between attraction and aversion, between esteem and shame ... and foster affection for who he was at heart. To empathize. However, as we know, sensationalism is more important to the movie industry. If they're not going to use Beatles, then semen will sell it.
If this flick was All That Jazz-ish, that would be great ~ but the scene described goes beyond flash and avant-garde, IMO. Wouldn't you want to try and get the public connected to the character of Eppy first, have them identify with him somehow, to understand, and then present the described scene? Is there another way other than f*ing to have an opening scene that would grab an audience?
Sure, it could make a lot of money. Like some other Jude Law movies. And be a trashy flick. Just what Eppy would have wanted. Oh yes. Humiliate him, f* his memory and rake in the dough.
Another of my concerns is, if the film actually sinks to a vulgar tabloid level, wouldn't this cause pain to the Epstein family? Or doesn't anybody care about peoples' feelings in the 21st century? Just put yourself in Henry Epstein's shoes, or suppose you were Brian himself. Are you sure he would have appreciated being labeled (to quote Michael Musto's article) as only "the Fab Four's bizarre gay manager?" How would you feel? Is Cilla, so enamored of Jude Law, aware the movie could go in this direction? At least The Hours and Times treated his sex life respectfully, maybe even too daintily for this day and age, but it left him looking dignified. (EDIT: I do have very serious issues with the Brian character in The Hours and Times, though.)
Imagine all the people just learning about him for the first time: that's who we're trying to reach.
I'm sorry if I seem old-fashioned.
I'm aware such erotic scenarios (and others much more intense and even violent) happened, and these scenes most likely could be shown somewhere in the middle of the movie after the audience has gotten to know him, fine. However, I have adored this man for 40 years now and it feels like someone just threw shit in my face.
Instead of persuading the General Public that this was a great man who deserves a better reputation and some much overdue love, opening the film this way would seem to encourage more ridicule from the sector we want to win over.
Part of being a true admirer of Brian Epstein is showing that, despite it all, he did have real class. It's not about getting our rocks off. Save that for your own fantasies ... don't try to shove it down the public's throat ... because they'll just spew it back at you.
BTW, does anyone out there know for sure if Todd Graff was replaced in this project, or is he still working with Jude Law?
It's early morning. I'm going to let this thing roll around in my head and then sleep on it tonight. That will often turn my opinions around and clarify things. But right now, my heart hurts.