Mister D: What Bullshit!
Don’t do it, Helen: Mirren told to pull out of Spector film or face ‘serious consequences’
By SHARON CHURCHER
Last updated at 10:12 PM on 30th July 2011
Dame Helen Mirren was warned last night she would face â€˜serious consequencesâ€™ unless she drops out of a biopic claiming Beatles producer Phil Spector was wrongly jailed for murder.
The film, which began shooting this month in Manhattan, has infuriated friends of Spectorâ€™s victim, blonde B-movie actress Lana Clarkson.
They have enlisted Hollywood publicity agent Edward Lozzi to organise a protest campaign and claim to have influential supporters who will stop actors who take part in the project being considered for prestigious awards.
Spector, 71, is serving 19 years-to-life after being convicted in 2009 of shooting 40-year-old Miss Clarkson at his mountaintop home six years earlier. The eccentric producer, who worked on The Beatlesâ€™ final album, Let It Be, in 1970 and is played in the new film by Al Pacino, also allegedly terrorised other women, holding them Â¬hostage at gunpoint.
But in the as yet untitled project â€“ made by respected US cable television network HBO â€“ Dame Helen takes the role of one of his lawyers and staunchest apologists, Linda Â¬Kenney Baden. The lawyer claims there is evidence Miss Clarkson was so depressed by setbacks in her career that she used a revolver owned by Spector to shoot herself.
‘She’s in the movie. She’s not dropping out. That’s all she’s saying.’ – A spokesman for the actress
Mr Lozzi said the group he represented â€“ called The Friends of Lana Clarkson â€“ was â€˜dismayedâ€™ at Dame Helenâ€™s involvement in the film, conceived by controversial New York writer and director David Mamet who has called for Spector to be freed. Mr Lozzi described the film as â€˜an insensitive attempt to portray the loathsome, lying, gun-abusing convicted murderer of our friend Lana Clarkson with some kind of sympathyâ€™.
Mr Lozzi â€“ a Press aide to former US President George Bush â€“ said that his group would mount a boycott of HBO unless the studio drops the project. And he warned that influential backers would lobby judges of the Emmy awards, asking them not to consider Dame Helen or any other actors who take part in the film for awards.
â€˜We have great respect for Helen Mirren,â€™ Mr Lozzi said. â€˜What we hope is that when she reads this script and sees Lana is being trashed, she will speak up and say, â€œThis is not right.â€
â€˜Helen Mirren probably didnâ€™t know about The Friends of Lana Clarkson when she agreed to take the role â€“ it would have been just another job to her. But now that she is aware, we ask her to examine her conscience.â€™
The group has sent a letter to Dame Helen, warning the 66-year-old, who won a 2007 Oscar for her portrayal of the Queen, that she should â€˜do the right thingâ€™ and demand script changes or face damaging â€˜consequencesâ€™ including â€˜no Emmy nominationsâ€™.
The letter adds: â€˜Know that we are very serious.â€™ Mr Lozzi claims the campaign has already forced Bette Midler â€“ who was initially cast as Mrs Kenney Baden â€“ to drop out, although the actress said she had injured her back. â€˜Maybe her back does hurt but I think what persuaded her to quit was she didnâ€™t want to hurt her image,â€™ Mr Lozzi said.
Dame Helenâ€™s spokesman last night said the actress had received the protestersâ€™ letter, but added: â€˜Sheâ€™s in the movie. Sheâ€™s not dropping out. Thatâ€™s all sheâ€™s saying.â€™