- The Life and Death of Peter Sellers
Infobox Film | name = The Life and Death of Peter Sellers
caption = "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers" (DVD)
director = Stephen Hopkins
Roger Lewis(book) Christopher Markus Stephen McFeely
Geoffrey Rush Charlize Theron Emily Watson John Lithgow Miriam Margolyes Peter Vaughan Sonia Aquino Stanley Tucci Stephen Fry
cinematography = Peter Levy
May 21, 2004( Cannes Film Festival) Franceflagicon|France
December 5, 2004(TV premiere)
runtime = 122 min.
language = English
imdb_id = 0352520
"The Life and Death of Peter Sellers" is a 2004 film about the life of British comic actor
Peter Sellers, based on Roger Lewis's book of the same name. It was directed by Stephen Hopkins and starred Geoffrey Rushas Sellers, Miriam Margolyesas his mother Peg Sellers, Emily Watsonas his first wife Anne Howe, Charlize Theronas his second wife Britt Ekland, John Lithgowas Blake Edwards, Stephen Fryas Maurice Woodruffand Stanley Tuccias Stanley Kubrick.
The film shows Peter Sellers as a demented genius, not having a personality of his own. It glimpses his life as a family man and as an actor.
According to the film, Sellers was not excited about landing a role in "
Pink Panther" movies, as the Clouseau character was only offered to him after Peter Ustinovturned it down. Also, it upset him that Clouseau was only a minor character, with David Niven's character getting the bulk of the attention. Sellers' performance impressed Blake Edwards, though, and Clouseau was made the central character in the hugely successful sequels.
The "Pink Panther" films are only a small part of this
docudrama, however, as it spans Sellers' career from " The Goon Show" through " Being There". Much emphasis is put on the fact that "Being There" (which earned him an Oscar nomination) was the one film about which Sellers was truly passionate since it was an opportunity to show off his skills as an actor as opposed to simply a comedian (he also reportedly greatly identified with the main character). Sellers is also shown aspiring to be a leading man in the James Bond satire "Casino Royale" which prompts ridicule from the film's crew.
Actor Geoffrey Rush stated in interviews that the film was itself structured to be reminiscent of a Peter Sellers film. This included at various times Rush (as Sellers) dressing up to play other characters in his life (several were ultimately edited out, but are included within the special features on the DVD). In these instances he broke the
fourth wallto give a monologue to the audience.
Many familiar faces have small roles in the movie;
Ed Tudor-Pole(former Tenpole Tudorlead singer) plays Spike Milliganand "The League of Gentlemen"'s Steve Pembertonplays Harry Secombe. Heidi Klumplays Ursula Andress. Nigel Haversplays David Niven. Mackenzie Crookof "The Office" also has a small role as a luxury automobile salesman.
The film won the 2005
Golden Globeaward for Best Motion Picture Made for Television and Rush was awarded the Globe's Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture Made for Television.
Michael Sellers, Peter Sellers' son, despite the turbulent relationship with his father, always tried to defend his father's legacy. In 2004 when "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers" was released, Michael Sellers scolded Hopkins. Sellers was incensed at the portrayal of his father as clinically
insanein the book on which the Hopkins picture was based. Sellers, at the time, called Roger Lewis' book "400 pages of rubbish". [http://film.guardian.co.uk/cannes/story/0,,958789,00.html The Guardian UK] "Biopic's many strange faces of Peter Sellers incense the actor's son" Fiachra Gibbons in Cannes Monday May 19, 2003 The Guardian] This had the effect of forcing Hopkins to descend to Cannesduring the film festival in order to appease Michael Sellers.
*imdb title|id=0352520|title=The Life and Death of Peter Sellers
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