Monday, September 10, 2018

The Rocker, the Writer, and the Recluse

When I read last week in Variety that Rolling Stones singer-songwriter Mick Jagger has won a supporting role in The Burnt Orange Heresy, director Giuseppe Capotondi’s coming film adaptation of Charles Willeford’s 1971 novel of that same name, I was surprised. Does the now 75-year-old Jagger have much acting experience? According to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), the answer is … some.

He actually scored the title role in the 1970 biographical film Ned Kelly, about a 19th-century Australian bushranger and outlaw of that same name. He also played the operator of an exclusive escort service in 2001’s The Man from Elysian Fields, starring Andy Garcia. And Jagger racked up a smattering of uncredited performances, including in the 2008 movie The Bank Job and on TV shows such as Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. But the vast majority of his efforts in front of the camera have been music video shorts.

In the The Burnt Orange Heresy, Jagger will portray Joseph Cassidy, described by The Hollywood Reporter as “an English art dealer and collector and patron of Jerome Debney, the reclusive J.D. Salinger of the art world.” THR goes on to explain that this “neo-noir thriller,” “set in present-day Italy, … follows art critic James Figueras [played by Danish actor Claes Bang] and American tourist Hollis [Elizabeth Debicki from The Night Manager] as they travel to Cassidy’s lavish and opulent Lake Como estate. While there, Cassidy offers James a seductive deal: In exchange for a career-transformative introduction to Debney [Christopher Walken], he must steal a new masterpiece from the artist’s studio for Cassidy’s personal collection. As the couple spends time with the legendary Debney, they start to realize that nothing about the artist and their mission is what it seems.”

The Burnt Orange Heresy was apparently Willeford’s first hardcover original novel, and it has been described by blogger J.F. Norris as “more satire than crime novel yet not without a generous smattering of violent crimes and brutal explosive violence.” Norris adds that the book “offers Willeford a chance to show off his knowledge of the art world while simultaneously creating one of the most compellingly realistic fictional artists of all time.”

No release date has yet been set for Capotondi’s film. Scott B. Smith (A Simple Plan, The Ruins) penned the screenplay.

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