Boy George, one of the most recognizable faces from the 1980s, is the next music icon to get swept up in the film industry’s classic rock biopic wave. Indeed, in the spirit of the Oscars-dominating Freddie Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, and the buzz-generating Elton John biopic, Rocketman (which hits theaters this weekend), the ostentatiously gender-bending frontman of Culture Club is getting a big screen portrayal of his own from a major studio.
The Boy George biopic, currently untitled, is in the works at MGM, which will produce the film, reports Deadline. The studio has already found its creative fulcrum in Sacha Gervasi (My Dinner with Hervé, Hitchcock), who will serve as director and writer, joined by producers Kevin King Templeton (Creed) and Paul Kemsley, as well as executive producers George and Jessica de Rothschild.
The film will take viewers from the humble Irish working-class family beginnings of the singer, born George Alan O’Dowd, to his meteoric rise in the early 1980s as the unapologetically androgynous – never closeted – lead singer of the London-based New Wave-era act, Culture Club. The band would have global smash hits like “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?,” “Time (Clock of the Heart),” “Church of the Poison Mind” and the ever-ubiquitous signature hit, “Karma Chameleon.” Their success was propelled from George’s public persona and the power of the then-burgeoning platform of MTV, on which Culture Club’s music videos played in regular rotation. However, with the band’s success came inevitable conflicts, notably regarding George’s descent into drug abuse, along with the tumultuous romantic relationship with the band’s drummer, Jon Moss (which was the subject of much of the band’s songs).
George is cited as having sold 100 million singles and over 50 million albums as a performer and songwriter from his work with Culture Club and in his endeavors as a solo artist, the most notable of which yielded the 1992 movie theme hit, “The Crying Game.” He’s also had two bestselling autobiographies, and co-produced the musical, Taboo, on Broadway and London’s West End.
As incoming director Sacha Gervasi comments on the biopic subject:
“[George is] a trailblazer and a true original. In the London clubs of the ’80s, George was impossible to miss and everyone knew he would be a star long before the world had ever heard a note of Culture Club’s iconic songs. As you can imagine, George’s life story is wickedly entertaining, yet also poignant and inspiring. I’m both honored and excited to be the one to guide it onto the big screen.”
Gervasi comes into the project off the recent HBO TV movie, My Dinner with Hervé, in which Game of Thrones’ Peter Dinklage starred as Fantasy Island co-star Hervé Villechaize. He also directed the 2017 teen crime film, November Criminals, and the 2012 biopic, Hitchcock, in which Anthony Hopkins played the legendary horror/mystery visionary. He also achieved acclaim for the 2008 rockumentary, Anvil: The Story of Anvil.
As Jonathan Glickman, MGM’s Motion Picture Group President, lauds of the helmer:
“There is no filmmaker better suited than Sacha Gervasi to tell George’s confessional story with the irreverence and emotion it deserves. We couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with both of them to bring this remarkably honest and wildly entertaining tale to audiences around the world.”
We will keep you updated on MGM’s Boy George biopic as the news arrives!