What Are Al Pacino's Connections to Phil Spector and Lana Clarkson?

Plus, more things to know about HBO's "Phil Spector" movie.

Yahoo TV
"Phil Spector"
.

View photo

Al Pacino's crazy wigs won't be the only thing that will get people talking about HBO's new movie, "Phil Spector," which premieres Sunday, 3/24 at 9 PM.

The highly controversial movie is making waves for its accuracy and depiction of the infamous record producer who was accused and convicted of second-degree murder for the death of actress Lana Clarkson in 2003.

David Mamet, who wrote and directed the movie, focuses not on Spector's well-publicized trial, but on his dealings with tenacious attorney Linda Kenney Baden (Helen Mirren).

Check out five things to know about the contentious "Phil Spector":

1. Pacino has a "Scarface" connection to Clarkson.

Though he didn't realize it until TV Guide told him, Clarkson was an extra in Pacino's most notable film, "Scarface." She's briefly seen in the background as Michelle Pfeiffer dances at the Babylon Club.

The eerie coincidence freaked Pacino out. "Seriously? Wow. I never knew that. This is the first time I'm hearing it," he said. "That's weird. Wee-ahd!"

2. He also doesn't remember meeting Spector once upon a time.

Pacino also didn't recall meeting Spector, either. He told TV critics in January, though, that there is a photo of them together.

"Somebody showed me a picture of me and him on the Internet," Pacino laughed. "It was at some event or party. … Since he had mostly worked behind the scenes, I didn't know who he was, and he looked like he didn't know who I was."

For the movie, Pacino didn't renew the acquaintance, because "he's in prison and he's already been convicted. This person I'm playing is the guy who was there before he was convicted. … I thought, 'Well, you know. It's a different Phil Spector now.'"

3. While filming, Pacino sported 12 wigs, each of which took 60 hours to make.

Hair stylist Cydney Cornell and wig maker Renate Leuschner knew they had a big job ahead of them when they got Mamet's script and "every scene it said, 'Phil Spector in yet another wig,'" Cornell recalled to Entertainment Weekly.

"Everybody knows Phil Spector wore wigs, but it was the first time [in my career] that I replicated wigs for a person who everyone knew was wearing a wig,'' she added.

Pacino loved the outlandish wigs. "I thought the wigs could do a lot of the acting for me -- like an accent or a limp," he explained to TV Guide. "How can you go wrong with a wig on your head?"

4. Bette Midler was originally supposed to play Baden.

Mirren was vacationing in Italy when the call came asking her to step in for an injured Midler. She'd planned on taking a break from work for a few months, but "I couldn't resist working with such incredible luminaries of drama and literature."

Mirren did meet with Baden who served as a consultant on the movie. But she was forbidden to tell either Mamet or Mirren anything about her conversations with Spector, which were protected by attorney-client privilege.

5. The movie is stirring up more than its share of controversy.

Many movies based on true events inevitably get blasted for historical inaccuracies or misinterpretations. But "Phil Spector" might be the most controversial yet. Spector's wife, Rachelle is outraged by the "cheesy portrayal" of her husband. Clarkson's friends called it a "slap in the face" and protested the Los Angeles screening of the movie. They are also seeking to block it from any Emmy consideration.

Mamet's response to the criticisms? "It's really not the story of Phil Spector," he told The Wrap. And aside from dialogue on court record, "Almost everything is hypothetical."

 

View Comments