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10 Film Biopics That Couldn't Handle The Truth

Who needs facts when you've you legends?

Just how true-to-life to biopics need to be? Some productions drawing on people's actual lives will involve the lead €œcharacter€ themselves as much as possible, just to make sure they're sticking to the facts. On the other end of the spectrum there's the likes of I'm Not There, a Bob Dylan biopic where he's played by a half-dozen different people, including Cate Blanchett. €œBiopics can get hung up on authenticity, but our film is constantly lying,€ admitted the co-writer of I'm Not There, which consisted of brief vignettes which may or may not have actually happened to the singer. In that case, it was very much a case of staying true to the sort of things Dylan did, and the sort of person he is, than anything that really occurred. Regardless of how much a biopic production aims to stick to just the facts, ma'am, it difficult to chose what parts of the true life story to include (because there are many boring periods in people's lives where nothing happens) whilst keeping to the sort of rigid plot structure Hollywood movies are defined by. Down by the second act, up by the film's climax, and so on. Lives aren't like that. There's a definite line to be trodden in making a film based on somebody's life. But there's a big difference between interpreting their story, being faithful, and just outright changing things completely €“ whether the latter is for better or for worse. From the real, less irritating Patch Adams to the Jimi Hendix built on a throne of lies, here are ten film biopics that couldn't handle the truth.
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Tom Baker is the Comics Editor at WhatCulture! He's heard all the Doctor Who jokes, but not many about Randall and Hopkirk. He also blogs at http://communibearsilostate.wordpress.com/