Mister Lonely

Mister Lonely
Mister Lonely

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Harmony Korine
Produced by Robin Wood
Written by Harmony Korine
Avi Korine
Starring Diego Luna
Samantha Morton
Music by Sun City Girls
Jason Pierce
Cinematography Marcel Zyskind
Editing by Valdís Óskarsdóttir
Studio HanWay
Distributed by IFC Films (US)
Tartan Films (UK)
Release date(s) May 22, 2007 (2007-05-22) (Cannes)
April 30, 2008 (2008-04-30)
Running time 112 minutes
Country United Kingdom
United States
Language English
Budget $8.2 million
Box office $393,813

Mister Lonely is a 2007 comedy-drama film directed by Harmony Korine, and co-written with his brother Avi Korine.



A young American man (Diego Luna) living in Paris scratches out a living as a Michael Jackson look-alike, dancing on the streets, public parks, tourist spots and trade shows. During a show in an old people's home, he meets Marilyn Monroe (Samantha Morton). Haunted by her angelic beauty, he follows her to a commune in the Scottish Highlands, joining her husband Charlie Chaplin (Denis Lavant) and her daughter Shirley Temple (Esme Creed-Miles). Here, The Pope (James Fox), The Queen (Anita Pallenberg), Madonna (Melita Morgan), James Dean (Joseph Morgan), and other impersonators build a stage in the hope that the world will visit and watch them perform. When the play goes bust, Marilyn kills herself and Michael moves back to Paris, leaving open the question of whether he will quit his life as an impersonator.

A second plotline concerns a convent of nuns, in what seems to be a Third World country. One of the nuns survives a fall from an airplane during a mission to deliver food to villages, and discovers that if you are true of heart, God will protect you. All the nuns then begin jumping from planes to show they are true of heart and protected by God. This storyline ends with the nuns being invited to the Vatican to meet the Pope himself, but the plane crashes in the ocean, killing everyone on board.[1]


Actor Role
Diego Luna Michael Jackson
Samantha Morton Marilyn Monroe
Denis Lavant Charlie Chaplin
Werner Herzog Father Umbrillo
James Fox The Pope
Melita Morgan Madonna
Anita Pallenberg The Queen
Jason Pennycook Sammy Davis, Jr.
Esme Creed-Miles Shirley Temple
Werner Herzog Priest
Leos Carax Renard
Britta Gartner Nun
Alisa Grace Greaves Autograph Girl
Quentin Grosset Le Petit Garçon
Rachel Korine Little Red Riding Hood
Joseph Morgan James Dean
Richard Strange Abraham Lincoln
Daniel Rovai Moe Howard
Mal Whiteley Larry Fine
Nigel Cooper Curly Howard
Michael-Joel Stuart Buckwheat
Angel Morgan Various parts


Korine conceived of a movie about impersonators as a way to explore what he called "the obsessive nature" of the impersonator personality. Rather than mocking or belittling impersonation, Korine claims to have felt a "fondness and empathy" for impersonators since childhood.[2]

Korine came up with the idea for the film after the release of Julien Donkey-Boy, but his drug use and general disillusionment (along with fund-raising difficulties) prolonged the process. In a February 2007 interview with Screen International, he said: "I'd been making movies since I was virtually a kid, and it had always come very easily. At a certain point after the last movie, I started to have this general disconnect from things. I was really miserable with where I was. I began to lose sight of things and people started to become more and more distant. I was burnt out, movies were what I always loved in life and I started to not care. I went deeper and deeper into a dark place and to be honest movies were the last thing I was thinking about - I didn't know if I was going to be alive. My dream was to evaporate. I was unhealthy. Whatever happened during that time, and I won't go into the details, maybe it was something I needed to go through."[3] In a 2003 interview with the New York Post, former girlfriend Chloe Sevigny revealed that the formerly straight edge Korine had become addicted to heroin and methadone while they were together, with Korine's substance abuse issues contributing to the end of their relationship.[4][5]

Richard Strange, who plays Abraham Lincoln in the movie, claimed that Korine often changed scenes and lines as he filmed the movie.[6]


While shooting the commune scenes, the cast and crew of Mister Lonely lived together in a Scottish castle, and many of the actors remained in their impersonated characters for all or part of the time they were off-camera. Actor Denis Lavant even bathed with his shoes on, as his impersonated character Charlie Chaplin was said to do.

To film the secondary storyline, Korine worked with real skydiving nuns from Spain, sometimes in 120-degree heat.[2]


Half of the music for the film was written and performed by Sun City Girls, with the other half being created by Spiritualized frontman, Jason "Spaceman" Pierce.

  1. "Michael's Opening" (dialogue)
  2. Jason Spaceman – "Blues 1"
  3. Jason Spaceman – "Blues 2 (Intro)"
  4. Sun City Girls – "3D Girls"
  5. Jason Spaceman – "Panama 1"
  6. Sun City Girls – "Spook"
  7. Jason Spaceman – "Garden Walk"
  8. Sun City Girls – "Steppe Spiritual"
  9. Jason Spaceman – "Pope in the Bath"
  10. "Nun's Prayer" (dialogue)
  11. Sun City Girls – "Mr. Lonely Viola"
  12. Sun City Girls – "Beryl Scepter"
  13. "Red Riding Hood's Hangman" (dialogue)
  14. Jason Spaceman – "Stooges Harmonica"
  15. "Father Umbrillo's Broken Nation"
  16. Jason Spaceman – "Musicbox Underwater"
  17. Sun City Girls – "Circus Theme"
  18. Sun City Girls – "Vine Street Piano"
  19. Jason Spaceman – "Paris Beach"
  20. Sun City Girls – "Farewell"
  21. Angel Morgan – "Gold Dust"


Korine's largest film to date with a budget of $8.2 million,[3] Mister Lonely earned $386,915 in its first nine months[7] — $167,396 in the United States and $219,519 in other territories.[7] The film received mixed to negative reviews. Rotten Tomatoes reports that the film maintains a 46% approval, the general consensus being, "Less biting or offensive than Korine's earlier works, this frustratingly dull film still maintains the director's trademark odd beauty." [8]


  1. ^ "Harmony-Korine.com – News" (html). http://www.harmony-korine.com/paper/main/news.html. Retrieved 2006-12-27. 
  2. ^ a b Bishop, Richard. "Harmony Korine". BOMB Magazine. Spring 2008. Retrieved 3 August 2011.
  3. ^ a b Screen International Magazine, "Only The Lonely" by Fionnuala Halligan, Feb 2, 2007 p34-35
  4. ^ http://www.chloesevigny.com/news_page5.html
  5. ^ Harmony-Korine.com . Interviews & Articles
  6. ^ Richard Strange (May 1, 2008). Highland Flings. ARTINFO. http://www.artinfo.com/news/story/27488/highlands-fling/. Retrieved 2008-05-14. 
  7. ^ a b "Mister Lonely (2008)". Box Office Mojo. http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=misterlonely.htm. Retrieved 2009-02-12. 
  8. ^ http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1192616-mister_lonely/

External links

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