The Life and Death of Peter Sellers

Year: 2004
Production Co: HD Vision Studios
Studio: HBO
Director: Stephen Hopkins
Cast: Geoffrey Rush, Charlize Theron, John Lithgow, Stanley Tucci, Emily Watson, Stephen Fry
HBO might have more leeway for creativity than the traditional film studios, but they did a nice job of this film, making both a retro art piece and a serious biopic.

I wasn't sure of the significance of having Rush play a scene of every character who was important in Sellers' life, but it was apparently something to do with him never knowing who he truly was, a theme alluded to several times.

It's always interesting to see what actors make of noted personalities, especially ones in such recent pop culture history like Britt Ekland (Theron) and Blake Edwards (Lithgow), and together with Rush's chameleon-like portrayal of Seller's chameleon-like career it's a treat of performance to watch, the 'actorliness' skirting the border of existing for its own sake at times but always exciting.

It's part of a new vanguard of films overturning the rot beneath the public facade of personalities, everyone from Bob Crane (Autofocus) to George Reeves (Hollywoodland, and it's always thrilling to think you're getting the inside dope the studios, minders and system didn't want you to know back when it was actually happening.

The Life and Death of Peter Sellers charts the rise of Sellers from his Goons/radio days to the eccentric, demanding, petulant, talented and untouchable figure he became in Hollywood under directors like Edwards and Kubrick (Tucci). Everyone performs more than ably and it's another one to chalk up if you're interested in movies about the business and personalities who make it up.

And what a turnaround from Stephen Hopkins, who spent the 90s cutting his teeth on brawly action movies like Predator 2 and Judgement Night.

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