Check this out, I believe it is the second of the 50 questions:
On Nov 18, 2010, at 11:08 AM, Frank Luca wrote:
Subject: Re: Has anyone…
Has anyone ever approached you about making a movie on Frank’s life? Not a documentary.
I know the “Hollywood” types would look at such an undertaking from a pure ROI perspective, “but I for one care less for them”. Seriously though, I think a movie on the “story” of Frank’s life goes way beyond his musical genius, and although it may not broad main street appeal, “it is this reporter’s opinion”, that there is definitely a large “cult” of loyal FZ fans who would welcome such a movie. My “opinion” is based on the large number of younger people I have seen at the ZPZ shows. I have been to a few shows and was surprised at how many young people were in attendance. And then there’s Europe. I have been a fan of Frank’s for many, many, many years, not only his music, but also his “take” on several social and political issues. There are very few opinions that Frank stated that I disagreed with. However, he did offer one opinion he did give in one of his final interviews on the Today Show in which he said, “it’s not important to be remembered”. The very people Frank sited, Reagan, Bush, etc, YES, those are the guys that need NOT be remembered. But in Frank’s case, I strongly disagree. He was truly one of a kind! And NEEDS to be remembered! Thank you, Dweezil and the rest of the “ZPZ” folks that obviously share my opinion.
Yes. On both – Hollywood and Documentary. Yes he did say that it is not important to be remembered – to him – and that among the people for whom it is VERY important to be remembered are Reagan and Bush. I would add that there are whole industries with government financial support to make sure that they are remembered in very particular ways.
Thanks for your comments.
I found some interesting ideas in there, and would certainly be interested in a long in-depth documentary about Zappa. To be satisfying to fans like us, it would probably have to be about 6-8 hours long, and made in a much more idiosyncratic and artistic way than the chopped interviews/soundbites style of the Apostrophe/OS Dvd. A real Frank Zappa film should be on line with the work in many unforeseeable ways, and would need a director with a penetrating vision, and of course understanding of Zappa. A successful film of this kind should be an artwork on its own, but not in any obvious artsy-fartsy hesitant way. It should hit hard, long and deep.
A drama/bio-pic on the same subject would necessarily have to be very different. I think the film would suffer if it tried to cover Zappa's entire life. Most often, artist biographies are interesting in the beginning, when the character is growing, often through some kind of suffering (cf. Jeff Simmons!). There's a struggle to a breakthrough, but from then on, the life is more often than not sailing into calmer, plainer waters, and the biography becomes a dull rhapsody of achievements. There are exceptions, but this is a general pattern which is rather common. In the case of Zappa, a documentary will always find fascinating new material in the work and a developing philosophy, right up until the end. But I think it's safe to say that the drama of Zappa's life follows the pattern of the ultimately successful artist - there are more conflicts, growth and other stuff of general interest in the beginning than later. Of course you could make a drama out of a slice of life, like the London years around 200 Motels, with the creation of the film and music, and ensuing court case because of the cancelled concert. Zappa's later years and demise have a melancholy and pathetic interest, and could be material for beautiful and painful art. But I still think that in terms of a Hollywood bio-pic, the early years are more interesting. So my pitch for that would be a film about the Lancaster years, the inner workings of the Zappa family, father's occupations, mother's religiosity, playing with mercury balls in dust, interest in science and music, rhythm 'n' blues, drums, friendships, Donnie Vliet, discovery of Varese, the early Cucamonga years, Paul Buff, Studio Z - and finally climaxing on the FBI set-up of sex tape order, bust and incarceration. The ten days in tank C, San Ber'dino, form the last sequence of the film, jail experiences and reflections on all the disparate influences that have shaped him thus far, and a definitely critical view on society at large, which is highlighted by the hypocrisy of the FBI set-up. I don't know if it's true to history, but I imagine that he takes a shave after he's done his time, and it's only then that the characteristic moustache and genghis appear. End credits with some poignant Zappa music and lyrics.
That's my two-bits. How about you?
We make a special art in an environment hostile to dreamers. Frank Zappa, 1971