I just saw “The Life and Death of Peter Sellers,” a BBC film I believe, and… oh dear Lord, Geoffrey Rush kicked so much ass.
If you haven’t seen it, I … well, I was going to say I won’t spoil it, but since it’s a biopic, it’s difficult to really spoil. But…
You know how Sellers was known for playing multiple parts in Strangelove? Well, Rush does something similar here. In addition to perfectly mimicking Sellers in numerous of his roles, he plays other parts within the movie, including on occasion Blake Edwards, Sellers’ mother and father, Stanley Kubrick, Sellers’ first wife Ann… damn.
Rush was terrific, and they picked a great way to get inside Peter Sellers. But I really, really wish they’d made a better movie. The movie’s theory was ‘Peter Sellers was a great actor because he was a hollow, empty un-person.’ Maybe it’s because I like his work - I know he wasn’t a very good guy - but I thought that was a shockingly negative, mean-spirited thing to say about the subject of you movie.
Yeah, I have to agree somewhat. I found myself mesmerized by Rush’s performance, but I can’t decide whether I really liked the movie itself or not. I certainly don’t regret watching it.
The thing is, I know somebody in theater who’s similar to the way Sellers was portrayed: brittle, argumentative, pushy, demanding, and always doing a character or a voice. I bought that version of Sellers because of that, I think.
Whether it’s true-to-life of Sellers or not, I couldn’t say.
Sellers himself had that view. I saw the Muppet Show ep that he was on, and he was in
character for every second he was on screen. Kermit (Jim Henson) even asked him
about that and he said something to the effect that behind the characters there is nothing.