Al Pacino Will Play Phil Spector in HBO Film Written and Directed by David Mamet

     October 8, 2010


After winning the Emmy for the Jack Kevorkian biopic You Don’t Know Jack, Al Pacino will return to HBO for another TV movie, this time as legendary record producer Phil Spector.  This is great news.  Pacino has aged into the type of crazy necessary to play the legitimately insane Spector.  Even better: David Mamet will write and direct, nearly twenty years after he scripted the Al Pacino-led Glengarry Glen Ross.  With Mamet writing the dialogue of a madman and an elderly Pacino performing it, this flick will be riddled with idiosyncrasy.  I can’t wait.

Hit the jump for more info on Spector — both his crazy and his genius.

With the casting of Pacino, it appears they’ll focus on the later Spector years, which is kind of too bad.  They were not happy times.  Per the New York Times:

“Mr. Spector, 70, was convicted of second-degree murder last year; prosecutors successfully argued that the record producer shot Lana Clarkson, a struggling actress, in the foyer of his mansion in 2003. Mr. Spector’s lawyers as recently as March were still arguing in court for his release.”


Maybe they’ll offer redemption in flashback?  Or maybe Cameron Crowe will get his planned Spector biopic off the ground with Tom Cruise rumored for the lead.

Spector has lived beyond the pale for at least three or four decades now.  My favorite anecdote revolves around the Ramones, who teamed with Spector for the 1980 album End of the Century.  Ever the perfectionist, Spector insisted the punk band record the opening chord of “Rock And Roll High School” until it was just right — this process took over eight hours.  The band members grew frustrated (obviously), and attempted to leave the recording studio.  Then Spector pulled a gun on the Ramones, and forced them to play the 1963 Ronettes hit “Baby I Love You.”

Here’s a clip of the band discussing the general frustration of working with Spector, in which they reference the gun incident oddly nonchalantly.

Still, as the Ramones put it: “The guy is a legend.”  He crafted some of the greatest pop music of the 1960s.  The most natural fit for this blog would be the Copacabana scene from Goodfellas, as scored by The Crystals’ “Then He Kissed Me.”  Sadly, I can’t find an embeddable version.  Instead, I’ll leave you with the The Ronettes’ “Be My Baby.”