Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 
Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable

Beyonce, Beastie Boys and Bed-Ins: 5 Musicians Who Made a Documentary As Self-Portrait

By Sofia M. Fernandez | Indiewire November 27, 2012 at 11:00AM

February just got a lot busier for Beyoncé Knowles. Not only is the singer-actress-clothing designer booked as the halftime entertainment for Super Bowl XLVII Feb. 3, her feature-film directing debut is now scheduled to air on HBO two weeks later.
0
Beyonce and Jay-Z at basketball game

February just got a lot busier for Beyoncé Knowles. Not only is the singer-actress-clothing designer booked as the halftime entertainment for Super Bowl XLVII Feb. 3, her feature-film directing debut is now scheduled to air on HBO two weeks later.

Per the cable network, the untitled documentary will examine the "Dreamgirls" and "Austin Powers in Goldmember" star's life on and off the stage -- from running her Parkwood Entertainment company, to meeting recording demands, to prepping for live performances, to her family life with husband and rap mogul Jay-Z. Despite initial kneejerk reactions, the multi-hyphenate's move into film directing isn't as big a stretch as you may think.

Beyoncé has previously co-directed a number of her own music videos ("Dance For You," "Party," "Ego"), and she will be an executive producer of the HBO project, the announcement of which unleashed a fury of online reaction Monday both praising and criticizing her. "Yawn, she's a great performer but I'm weary of her shameless hucksterism," wrote HuffPo commenter Sethj888. "Beyoncé is way too full of herself. Too narcissistic," lamented Yahoo commenter OliveTwist. Sasha Fierce supporters countered, "Good for her... she has millions of fans who will enjoy it" (Indiewire commenter Good), and "Keep doing what you do Mrs. Carter nothing but a bunch of haters" (Yahoo commenter Nicole P.).

READ MORE: 'Completely Ruthless': William Faulkner's 5 Best Quotes About Hollywood and Art

No matter what side of the Beyoncé fence you're on, one thing is certain about her latest venture: She is not the first, nor will she be the last, musician to direct a documentary about herself. Neil Young has repeatedly done it, 30 Seconds to Mars' Jared Leto is winning prizes for it and John Lennon even did it with his pants down (lurid details on that below):

Artifact
Jared Leto (as Bartholomew Cubbins), "Artifact," 2012


Like "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart," the 2002 documentary chronicling Wilco's "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" sessions and record label woes, "Artifact" started out as one thing -- a behind-the-scenes look at the making of 30 Seconds to Mars' third album -- and turned into something completely different -- a treatise on the state of an industry in which a label (EMI) sues an artist (30 Seconds to Mars) for $30 million even though said artist claims it's buried in six-digit debt despite selling millions of records. "Artifact" won the BlackBerry People's Choice Documentary Award at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival and the Gotham Independent Film Audience Award at Monday night's Gotham Awards.

Adam Yauch (as Nathaniel Hörnblowér), "Awesome; I Fuckin' Shot That!," 2006

The late Oscilloscope Laboratories founder Adam "MCA" Yauch donned his director's cap for this 2006 Beastie Boys documentary in which 50 concertgoers were given digital cameras to record the happenings at a 2004 Madison Square Garden concert. Four editors assembled the footage, with Yauch adding digital effects and order to the shaky, raw proceedings. Rolling Stone's Peter Travers offered both warning and praise for the picture, writing, "Anyone prone to seizures should bring protective straps and tongue depressors. Luckily, pros handled the sound and the editing. Get ready to be shaken and stirred."

Ice Cube, "Straight Outta L.A.," 2010

A variation on the standard band documentary, Ice Cube's contribution to ESPN's "30 for 30" series makes the connection between his seminal gangsta rap outfit N.W.A. and the then-Los Angeles Raiders. N.W.A. members were avid Raiders supporters, sporting team merchandise and embracing the squad whose games were notoriously rowdy and violent. The Raiders eventually left the City of Angels -- without Ice Cube as a fan. As the Los Angeles Times notes, Ice Cube rapped, "Stop givin' juice to the Raiders / 'Cause Al Davis / Never paid us."

John Lennon/Yoko Ono -- "Imagine," 1972; "Honeymoon," 1969

"CSNY/Deja Vu"
"CSNY/Deja Vu"

John Lennon and Yoko Ono directed a number of experimental docs about themselves in the late '60s and early '70s. "Imagine" was primarily a promo for Lennon's "Imagine" album; the short "Honeymoon" heralded their "Bed-In for Peace"; and then there's "Self Portrait" -- the "Brown Bunny" of its time. The Observer's Phillip French details the art project: "Lasting some 40 minutes (it seemed like an eternity), it focused upon the unaided tumescence and detumescence of his member."

Neil Young -- "Journey Through the Past," 1974; "Rust Never Sleeps," 1979; "CSNY/Deja Vu," 2008 (as Bernard Shakey)

Who would have thought that Neil Young and Jared Leto would endure similar legal wrangling? Just as EMI filed suit against 30 Seconds to Mars, David Geffen infamously sued Young in 1983 for, well, not sounding like Neil Young. The musicians have both chronicled their musical journeys on film, as well. Young's "Journey Through the Past" is part concert doc, part art; "Rust Never Sleeps" documents his 1978 tour of the same name with Crazy Horse; and "CSNY/Deja Vu" follows Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young on the road on their politically charged "Freedom of Speech Tour." "Deja Vu" closed the 2008 Sundance Film Festival that year.

This article is related to: Neil Young, Beyoncé Knowles, Jared Leto, Artifact , Adam Yauch, Ice Cube, John Lennon, Documentary






Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome



Awards Season Spotlight

Contender Conversations

Indiewire celebrates the best and brightest from Independent film, Hollywood, and foreign cinema.

More