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HBO biopic of Robert Johnson: starring P. DIDDY

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Matt, May 21, 2003.

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  1. Matt

    Matt New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Illinois
    Word is HBO is getting ready for a film biography of legendary bluesman Robert Johnson.

    P. Diddy, aka Puff Daddy, has been cast as Johnson. P is learning how to play the guitar, an instrument he once tried but gave up on when he was a kid, and is supposedly going to work in the fields and learn to pick cotton as research for the role. I'm not making this up, that's what I've heard. I'll try to find some written news of this, though for those of you with Variety or the Hollywood Reporter, I'm certain a story can be found there.
     
  2. Cafe Jeff

    Cafe Jeff New Member

    Location:
    Toronto
    Puff Daddy?
    I thought the characterisation of Robert Johnson in 'Oh Brother Where Art Thou' was particularly good. Chris Tommy King who played Tommy Johnson (who I think we were supposed to beleive was Robert Johnson) even looked and played like RJ.
    If the film was done well, it could really be informative. Reading Lomax's 'The Land Where the Blues Began'

    http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazine/viewpoint/0503/bluesbegan.htm

    is fascinating reading. Jeff
     
  3. Matt

    Matt New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Illinois
    This is all I can find:

    SEAN "P. Diddy" Combs will be singing the blues - he's set to play blues legend Robert Johnson in an HBO biopic.

    "Love in Vain," an HBO Films feature, will begin production in September in Mississippi, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

    P. Diddy will play Johnson, considered to be one of the most influential Delta bluesmen who died at 27 - after composing classics like "Crossroads," "I Believe I'll Dust My Broom," "Sweet Home Chicago" and "Love in Vain."

    Johnson recorded only 29 songs in all, yet has influenced generations of blues musicians.

    The movie, written by Alan Greenberg, is being directed by Tim Blake Nelson (starred in Oh Brother Where Art Thou -- M), with Jeff Abelson executive-producing, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
     
  4. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    He has a great agent...Why should they use someone who actually knows how to play??? God forbid...I guess the HBO people figure a "Modern Rap Star" was needed to draw in the audience that could care less about Robert Johnson's music... Hey, there ya go..."Rappin Robo Johnson"
     
  5. Jefhart

    Jefhart Forum Resident

    I can hear the rap version of Stones In My Passway in my head now. Please kill me.;)

    Jeff
     
  6. Evan L

    Evan L Beatologist

    Location:
    Vermont
    What about Keb Mo, who played Johnson in the documentary Can't You Hear The Wind Blow? He's very tall, but did(IMO)a great job. I don't know, a biopic of Johnson is a good idea, but am not sure of the wiseness of the casting of Sean Combs. He's not a good rapper, so how could he be a good actor? I guess you never know......
     
  7. Matt

    Matt New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Illinois
    Wasn't there a previous film made on Robert Johnson?

    I think an amazing film can be made, but I just don't see it coming out of Hollywood, especially if P. Diddy's the kind of guy they want to cast. I heard he was good in Monster's Ball, so maybe he'll surprise us.

    Anyone ever read Alan Lomax (it may have been Alan, Jr.)'s recollection of visiting Robert Johnson's mother? He was looking for Johnson, only to discover he had died weeks or months before he got there. Not much action going on, but the mood, the atmosphere, and just his recollection of Johnson's mother really felt surreal and disturbing, almost creepy. It was totally a different world. Anyway, really great piece, I could see a great short just based on that.
     
  8. ferric

    ferric Iron Dino In Memoriam

    Location:
    NC
    Great Idea. Here's the pitch for a whole series of biopics:

    Puff Daddy as Robert Johnson
    Lil' Kim as Josephine Baker
    Starr Jones as Bessie Smith
    Michael Jackson as Diana Ross as Billie Holiday
    Larry Parks as Al Jolson, oops , been done.

    The possibilities are endless. Add your own.
     
  9. Roland Stone

    Roland Stone Offending Member

    I think P. Diddy (or whatever he's calling himself this week) can convincingly portray a bluesman if he's motivated to do it right. Since everyone expects him to fall on his face, or even hopes he'll fail, I suspect he'll throw himself into it. He's rich enough that he wouldn't bother risking the wrath of critics if he didn't really want to do it. I hope.

    Rappers should be able to transfer their talents to film, since their primary accomplishment as a recording artist is the invention of a unique and credible persona, based on an immediately identifiable delivery of unsung words. They are, more or less, radio actors. I would guess these skills are applicable to movie making.

    Acting on film has little to do with acting on stage. Check out Spalding Gray, who in one of his monologues discussed his embarrassment at his theatre-trained film performance with Farah Fawcett, who he considered something of a no-talent poster girl. When he watched the dailies, he was horrified to discover that his acting came across grotesque and overwrought under the magnifying glass of the camera, while Fawcett understood this and evinced the correct level of underplayed emotion. He, not the pin-up, was the one who looked ridiculous on film.
     
  10. Cafe Jeff

    Cafe Jeff New Member

    Location:
    Toronto
    The Alan Lomax story is a great one and is in his book 'The Land Where the Blues Began' which is available in a new edition and which I reviewed for Enjoythemusic.com and consider to be the best US$20 tweak going for blues fans.

    http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazine/viewpoint/0503/bluesbegan.htm

    Lomax went down to find Robert Johnson. Unbeknown to him, Johnson had already been poisoned by an aggrieved girl friend. Their trip was not however in vain as they basically 'discovered' Muddy Waters or at least brought Muddy Waters to the attention of the North.

    Jeff
     
  11. Evan L

    Evan L Beatologist

    Location:
    Vermont
    My only problem with P. Diddy is whether he has the acting chops to pull off portraying Robert Johnson. I don't think he has rapping chops, but then again, I'm no rap expert.
     
  12. Mike Dow

    Mike Dow I kind of like the music

    Location:
    Bangor, Maine
    Well, I'm convinced. We are living in the end times.

    On a brighter note: If you are into Robert Johnson's story, check out the documentary "Searching For Robert Johnson". It came out about ten years ago. John Hammond JR. traces Robert's footsteps and speaks on camera to several people who knew him well (or so they claim!) Interesting section regarding the actual burial site. I'm glad they got John Hammond to do it (since there is the connection with his Dad hoping to procure Robert to be part of a Blues show at Carnegie Hall only to find out he had recently died). Well done!
     
  13. Beatlelennon65

    Beatlelennon65 Active Member

    Give me a fuc*ing break. "P" Diddy couldnt learn to play a guitar if he had the rest of his life to try. On the other hand, I bet he could rap a helluva good version of Crossroads...not.
     
  14. Cafe Jeff

    Cafe Jeff New Member

    Location:
    Toronto
    Let's wait and see.
    Surprising things happen.
    Look at 8 Mile. Who would have expected Eninem could act, but he can. Jeff
     
  15. Evan L

    Evan L Beatologist

    Location:
    Vermont
    I have this. I taped it off of Bravo several years ago. Excellent documentary.
     
  16. Mike Dow

    Mike Dow I kind of like the music

    Location:
    Bangor, Maine
    Yes it is Matrix Man! I just saw a copy at our local Border's for $14.99. Not sure if it's still in print or if they have had trouble selling this one but it's well worth it!:)
     
  17. Jeff H.

    Jeff H. Senior Member

    Location:
    Northern, OR
    Puff Dummy as Robert Johnson??? Does he even know who he is? Not to dis him too hard, as he did do a good job in "Monster's Ball", but then again he didn't have very many lines in that movie before they killed his character off. We'll see(arms folded).
     
  18. audio

    audio New Member

    Location:
    guyana

    LOL!!!!:hurl: What a joke! Poor Puffy. He actually has to learn a real live instrument. That must be tough on him. What's next? Don Johnson as John Lennon??
     
  19. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    Re: Re: HBO biopic of Robert Johnson: starring P. DIDDY

    Hmmm, That might work!;) Hey, I enjoyed "Dead Bang" a bargain basement $5.00 DVD...:laugh:
     
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