After Bohemian Rhapsody became such a huge hit for Universal Pictures at the box office, studios have been far more interested in rock star biopics. This past weekend Elton John’s fantastical life story Rocketman debuted in second place at the box office this past weekend. That appears to have made studios even more eager to cash in on the fanbases of music’s biggest stars from the 1970s and 1980s, but the next rock star to get their own biopic is a surprising one.
Boy George, the androgynous lead singer of the group Culture Club, responsible for such hits as “Karma Chameleon” and “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me”, will be getting his own biopic at MGM, and the filmmaker behind it should make it an interesting retelling of his life story.
Deadline first reported the news on the Boy George movie, which is said to “explore his humble beginnings in an Irish a working-class family, through his rise to the top of the international charts with the ’80s band Culture Club.” In case you’re not familiar with his career, here’s the music video for one of Culture Club’s aforementioned hits:
Though this will likely have plenty of rock biopic tropes, Boy George’s life is at least a somewhat more unique story to tell since he fearlessly and confidently always put himself out there with a style that never explicitly defined his sexual identity. And this was long before that kind of behavior was more widely accepted by the general public.
In his musical career, Boy George has sold more than 100 million singles, over 50 million albums. He also won a Grammy for his work with Culture Club. More recently, he’s been spending time writing books recounting his wild life as a rock star, as well as being the co-producer, songwriter and star of the musical Taboo, which played Broadway and London’s West End.
Though Boy George’s life story and unique persona is interesting enough to warrant a biopic, I can’t imagine it will be anywhere near as anticipated as the recent offerings of Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman. While Boy George undoubtedly has plenty of fans, his solo career and work with Culture Club hasn’t reached the same levels of acclaim and admiration as the likes of Queen and Elton John. Of course, that doesn’t mean the movie won’t be worth seeing, and it could end up still being a big hit.
Bringing Boy George’s story to the big screen will be director Sacha Gervasi, who brought us the compelling story of a forgotten Canadian heavy-metal band in the documentary Anvil: The Story of Anvil. Though Gervasi may best be known for that rock doc, but he’s also played with biopics before in the stylish but meandering Hitchcock about famed filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock. This time he’ll be writing and directing, which he also did in the recent HBO film My Dinner with Hervé, which focused on the life of Fantasy Island star Hervé Villechaize.
Gervasi made a statement to Deadline about the developing project at MGM:
“In the London clubs of the ’80s, George was impossible to miss and everyone knew he would be a star long before the world had ever heard a note of Culture Club’s iconic songs. As you can imagine, George’s life story is wickedly entertaining, yet also poignant and inspiring. I’m both honored and excited to be the one to guide it onto the big screen.”
The question now is who will play Boy George? Stay tuned to see how this project develops.
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