HBO’S Phil Spector Biopic Faces Possible Protest

by | July 13, 2011 at 12:44 PM | TV News

By Joshua L. Weinstein

LOS ANGELES (TheWrap) – David Mamet’s newest project — an HBO movie about record producer and murderer Phil Spector — is under fire from friends of the woman whom Spector is convicted of killing.

Friends of Lana Clarkson are afraid of how Mamet will portray the late actress, and are threatening to protest the movie and organize a campaign to keep it from winning any Emmy Awards.

It’s a high-wattage project: Al Pacino plays Spector, with Bette Midler and Jeffrey Tambor as his lawyers.

But Edward Lozzi, a public relations executive who told TheWrap he used to date Clarkson, said he doesn’t like some of the comments Mamet has made about Spector — whom the writer has said may be innocent.

“Is that the way it’s going to be portrayed?” Lozzi asked TheWrap. “That means automatically he is going to portray Lana Clarkson as being responsible for her own death.” Spector’s lawyers claimed that Clarkson killed herself.

If that’s how the movie portrays Clarkson’s death, Lozzi said, “we intend to put a campaign on with the Academy members to make sure there are no Emmy nominations for a motion picture that’s a lie and hurts people who are alive today.”

He is particularly upset over comments Mamet made to the Financial Times.

“I don’t think he’s guilty,” Mamet told the newspaper. “I definitely think there is reasonable doubt…They should never have sent him away. Whether he did it or not, we’ll never know but if he’d just been a regular citizen, they never would have indicted him.”

In a letter to Mamet, Lozzi asked, “Will you portray her as the loving beautiful actress and comedian she was…Or will you go the low road as did “Team Spector,” portraying her as a casting couch dope-whore hell bent on picking up Spector for kicks and then blowing her brains out in his back doorway, depressed about turning 40?”

Lozzi hasn’t heard back from Mamet. But he wants the writer, whose newest book, “The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture,” to know that he and Clarkson’s other friends are watching.

Emails from TheWrap to Mamet’s office were not returned, but HBO noted that the movie is still filming.

In a statement to TheWrap, the cable network said that “HBO has a long tradition of capturing real life events on film. We think our track record of dealing with the complex adaptation of history speaks for itself and we hope people will reserve judgment until they have seen the film.”

The problem, Lozzi said, is that HBO tends to make really entertaining movies.

“You know it’s going to be a fantastic movie,” he said. “You’ve got the best people in Hollywood. You’ve got Oscar winners. It’s going to be a great movie — which makes it worse,” he said.

“What are people going to remember? The trial and what really happened or are they going to remember this movie? I hate it when people rewrite history for creative purposes.”

He said he was responsible for the no-Oscar campaign against the 1999 Denzel Washington movie “The Hurricane.”

He said he’s ready to launch another, although he hopes he won’t have to.

“If he trashes Lana, I will,” he said. “Maybe he won’t. Maybe we’ll say all of this concern…is going to be for naught, which we’re hoping.”

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