Tale-enders: Biopics that faced domestic hurdles

May 21, 2014, 15:31 IST | Shakti Shetty

Most biopics end up being risky ventures as the very subject of the film can turn against the makers. We list few films that bore clashes with their own subjects...

When 'Grace of Monaco' opened at the ongoing edition of the Festival de Cannes, the Nicole Kidman-starrer had already run into trouble.

Nicole Kidman plays Grace Kelly in 'Grace of Monaco'
Nicole Kidman plays Grace Kelly in 'Grace of Monaco'

The royal family of Monaco effectively disowned the film saying they weren’t entirely pleased with the “artistic liberties” depicting the life of actress-turned-queen Grace Kelly on the big screen. However, this isn’t the first time a biopic has faced such domestic hurdles. Even though biographical films are the toast of the season, one or the other finds a few shortcomings in them. hitlist points out a few films that bore clashes with their own subjects...

'J. Edgar' (2011)
'J. Edgar'
Director: Clint Eastwood
Lowdown: Leonardo DiCaprio received applause for meticulously essaying a divisive figure like Edgar while the government records about the events showcased in the film didn’t always match with reality. Regardless, the biopic managed to amass north of $85 million worldwide.

'Jobs' (2013)

Director: Joshua Michael Stern
Lowdown: Along with critics, even Steve Jobs’ friend Steve Wozniak lambasted the script pointing out the factual inaccuracies in the way their relationship was shown in the biopic. Bogged down by the negativity, the film eventually bombed at the box-office.

'A Mighty Heart' (2007)
'A Mighty Heart'
Director: Michael Winterbottom
Lowdown: The very announcement of the casting of Angelina Jolie (in the role of Mariane Pearl) drew criticism within the African-American community. After the film’s release, there were several objections raised by Daniel Pearl’s colleagues against the cinematic fiction presented.

'Diana' (2013)

Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel
The lowdown: Although Naomi Watts unanimously garnered positive reviews for her performance, neither the British royal family nor critics were happy with the way the movie turned out. The storyline was described as counter-factual, among other things.

'The Fifth Estate' (2013)
'The Fifth Estate'

Director: Bill Condon
Lowdown: Julian Assange was so apprehensive about the film that he personally got in touch with Benedict Cumberbatch to persuade him against portraying him. Later, Assange called the film a blatant attack on the integrity of WikiLeaks staff members.

'Frost/Nixon' (2008)

Director: Ron Howard
Lowdown: A controversial interview is bound to give birth to a controversial script. Turns out almost everyone in the know had trouble swallowing the dramatic liberties taken in this Oscar-nominated film. Interestingly, it didn’t bag any major award.

'The Iron Lady' (2011)
'The Iron Lady'

Director: Phyllida Lloyd
Lowdown: Margaret Thatcher’s children lampooned the biopic saying it came across as “left-wing fantasy”. There were several historical misinterpretations in the film but Meryl Streep’s Oscar-winning performance saved the day as it turned out to be a big grosser at the box office.

'The Social Network' (2011)
'The Social Network'

Director: David Fincher
Lowdown: There’s no doubt that this biopic promoted Facebook (as well as its founder, Mark Zuckerberg) enormously. But not every bit of the campaign was controversy-free. Zuckerberg stated that he haven’t led a dramatic — or disoriented — life the way it was shown in the film.

'Winnie' (2011)

Director: Darrell Roodt
Lowdown: Winnie Mandela extended support to actress Jennifer Hudson for her work in the film, but lashed out at the makers for not consulting her during its making. “I have everything against the movie,” was her reaction to this ‘unauthorised’ biopic, when asked about it.

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