The Life and Death of Peter Sellers


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
producer = Martin Jurow
writer = Roger Lewis (book)
Christopher Markus
Stephen McFeely
starring =Geoffrey Rush
Charlize Theron
Emily Watson
John Lithgow
Miriam Margolyes
Peter Vaughan
Sonia Aquino
Stanley Tucci
Stephen Fry
music = Richard Hartley
cinematography = Peter Levy
editing =
distributor = HBO
released = May 21, 2004 (Cannes Film Festival) France flagicon|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 Rush as Sellers, Miriam Margolyes as his mother Peg Sellers, Emily Watson as his first wife Anne Howe, Charlize Theron as his second wife Britt Ekland, John Lithgow as Blake Edwards, Stephen Fry as Maurice Woodruff and Stanley Tucci as Stanley Kubrick.

ynopsis

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 Ustinov turned 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 wall to give a monologue to the audience.

Notable Appearances

Many familiar faces have small roles in the movie; Ed Tudor-Pole (former Tenpole Tudor lead singer) plays Spike Milligan and "The League of Gentlemen"'s Steve Pemberton plays Harry Secombe. Heidi Klum plays Ursula Andress. Nigel Havers plays David Niven. Mackenzie Crook of "The Office" also has a small role as a luxury automobile salesman.

Awards

The film won the 2005 Golden Globe award 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.

Controversy

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 insane in 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 Cannes during the film festival in order to appease Michael Sellers.

References

External links

*imdb title|id=0352520|title=The Life and Death of Peter Sellers


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