Photo: Al Pacino As Phil Spector

The Daily Mail
FIRST LOOK: Al Pacino is a doppelgänger for music producer turned convicted killer Phil Spector in new film
Last updated at 8:12 AM on 8th July 2011

These are the first pictures of Al Pacino as legendary music producer Phil Spector, the ‘Wall of Sound’ pioneer who revolutionised pop music.

In these pictures, The Godfather star looks eerily like the musical powerhouse at the height of his fame in the early 1980s. Spector worked with talents such as Tina Turner, John Lennon and the Ramones but is forever tarred with the violent death of Lana Clarkson at his California home.

Wall of Sound: Pacino gets into character as Spector in New York today

The Bronx-born technician, now 70, is serving a minimum 19 year prison sentence for the second degree murder of the actress, who was shot dead after a drinking session with the eccentric character in 2003.

Which makes this forthcoming HBO biopic a controversial subject, especially in light of the light of it’s writer and director David Mamet insisting that he believes that Spector is innocent.

And that’s despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, an appeal by Spector’s lawyers was turned down just last year. Pacino is no stranger to taking on a controversial role for HBO after playing the doctor-assisted suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian in last year’s highly acclaimed You Don’t Know Jack.

And he looked to be taking to the role with typical gusto as he filmed in New York today, in what appeared to be a direct copy of one of Spector’s 1980 suits, with trademark shades.

However, Mamet’s comments have disgusted and infuriated friends and relatives of Clarkson, who fear there may be a whitewash of events.

The currently untitled movie began filming in Manhattan this week, with signs spotted around 7th Ave and 10th St for to give notice of closure for purposes of the crew over the next few days.

They’ll then move onto the Nassau County Court House in Long Island on July 18 and July 19, where the narrative will speed up to that infamous trial.

And Mamet has made no secret about his feelings about the verdict.

He told the Financial Times: ‘I don’t think he is guilty, I definitely think there is reasonable doubt, They should never have sent him away. Whether he did it or not we’ll never know, but if he’d just been a regular citizen, they never would have indicted him.’

TMZ reported that Clarkson’s friends and family are terrified Spector will be portrayed ‘with some kind of sympathy’ in the new project, describing Mamet’s comments as ‘mind-boggling and wrong’ in so many ways.

According to the website, the main concern of the unnamed group of friends and relatives is that the ‘loathsome, lying, gun-abusing convicted murderer of our friend Lana Clarkson will be portrayed with some kind of sympathy.’ They have written to the playwright to remind him of Spector’s conviction and beg him to ‘refrain from rewriting history for creative licence.’

Bette Midler has been recruited to play Spector’s lawyer Linda Kenney Baden.

Pacino’s agent John Burnham said of his client: ‘He just saw a very interesting character to play.’

Spector stated that Clarkson’s death was an ‘accidental suicide’ and that she ‘kissed the gun,’ but the emergency call has his driver quoting him as saying: ‘I think I’ve killed someone.’

And according to some women who were said to have met Spector and gave evidence in his trial, there would come a point when they wanted to leave Spector’s home, whereupon he would hold them at gunpoint.

The judge ruled such evidence admissable, despite this kind of information being frequently withheld in California, to allow the prosecution to discount any kind of accident.

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