I’ll be showing Mira Nair’s Amelia at Sneak Previews this week. I’ve seen the biopic of the vanished aviatrix Amelia Earhart, which stars Oscar magnet Hilary Swank and Richard Gere, and look forward to grilling the screenwriters, Ron Bass (Rain Man) and Anna Hamilton Phelan (Gorillas in the Mist). The question at hand: how do you tackle a movie biography these days, when authenticity is at such a premium?
Some biopics of well-known figures work as movies but lured a narrow audience: Steve Rash’s The Buddy Holly Story, Bennett Miller’s Capote, Gus Van Sant’s Milk, Ed Harris’s Pollock, Clint Eastwood’s Bird, Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull, Hal Ashby’s Bound for Glory, Oliver Stone’s Nixon and Bill Condon’s Kinsey. Others grabbed wider crowds by capturing the magic of their source: Julie & Julia, Ray, Ali, Schindler’s List, Lawrence of Arabia, Out of Africa, Amadeus, Malcolm X, Reds, Coal Miner’s Daughter, Walk the Line, Patton, Bonnie and Clyde, Gandhi, The Queen and The Aviator .
And some biopics just don’t ring true: Cleopatra, Anna and the King, De-Lovely, The Hurricane, Alexander, Beyond the Sea, and Toronto opener Creation, starring Paul Bettany as Charles Darwin.
Check out the Amelia trailer. What category do you think this movie will be in?