Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Reel People: Timothy Spall is J.M.W. Turner

The film is Mr. Turner. The drama is written and directed by the seven time Oscar nominee Mike Leigh.

J.M.W. Turner

Joseph Mallord William Turner was born in 1774 to William Turner a barber and wig maker. He had a younger sister Mary Ann who died at the age of 4 in 1783.

Then in 1785 he was sent to live with his maternal uncle, Joseph Mallord William Turner who lived on the river Thames. As early as this time, young Turner started drawing and his father would sell his pictures in his shop.

Before entering the Royal Academy of Art in 1789 he was busy as doing pencil sketches and water color work as well as working for architects. Turner did all sorts of work at the academy, and exhibited watercolors each year at the academy. In 1796 he exhibited his first oil painting, Fisherman at Sea.

Into the next decades his career as a painter continued to take off and he traveled through out Europe, studied at the Louvre, and became a member of society with friends like parliament member Walter Fawkes and George Wyndham, the Earl of Egremont.

Also during this time he had a relationship with a woman either older widow, Sarah Danby or her neice Hannah Danby. Regarless, he was never married, but believed to have had two daughters with one of these woman born in 1801 and 1811, Eveline and Georgiana.

Also during the early days after the Royal Academy his father would come and live with him. His father would live with him for 30 years working as his studio assistant. When his father died in 1829 Turner was impacted by episodes of deep depression. Turner who's paintings were increasingly respected also had fewer friends and developed increasingly eccentric behavior. Hannah Danby during these years also became Turner's housekeeper.

In 1851 Turner would die at the home of his mistress Sophia Caroline Booth in Chelsea, where his last words are said to have been "The sun is God."

Mr. Turner

The film Mr. Turner tells the story of the eccentric painter in the last 25 years of his life, including the impact of the death of his father, his relationship with his housekeeper, his social life, and his time with his mistress.

In addition to Timothy Spall playing the part of the famous romantic landscape painter, his father is played by Paul Jessen, his housekeeper Hannah Danby is played by Dorothy Atkinson, and his mistress Sophia Booth is played by Marion Bailey.

Timothy Spall already won the Palm d'Or for his role in his film will he also get an Academy Award nomination or perhaps even a win for his portrayal of this Real (Reel) Person.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Reel People: John Lloyd Young is Frankie Valli

The film is Jersey Boys, in which John Lloyd Young reprises his Tony Award winning role on the big screen. The feature-length film of the Broadway play is directed by Clint Eastwood. The screenplay is written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice based on their musical book.

Frankie Valli

Francesco Stephen Castelluccio was born in Newark, New Jersey on May 3, 1934. He developed the dream of being a musician at an early age after his mother took him to a Frank Sinatra concern at the Paramount Theater in New York when he was seven.

Until Frankie could support himself as a singer he followed in his father's footsteps as a barber.

His singing career started in 1951 singing with the Variety trio  (Nickie DeVito, Tommy DeVito and Nick Macioci). The Variety Trio would disband, and Frankie and Tommy DeVito would become part of other groups together. His first single, My Mother's Eyes" came out in 1953 under the name Frankie Valley (the last name adapted from a favorite singer "Texas" Jean Valli).

While auditioning as background singers he was identified along with former Variety trio (now in a group called The Varitones) members by RCA and they formed a group called The Four Lovers. The group would undergo some changes in the late 1950s and by the 1960s the group was renamed The Four Seasons. The group featured Franki Valli as lead singer, Bob Gaudio on keyboard and tenor vocals, Tommy DeVito on lead guitar and baritone vocals, and Nick Massi (formerly Macioci) on bass guitar and bass vocals.

The set up on the group gave them the opportunity to have solo artist tracks and group tracks giving them wide appeal and versatility. By 1966 Valli attempted his own solo release.

In the 1970s Valli suffered from Otosclerosis, an abnormal growth of bone by the ear that causes hearing loss. This required Valli to sing from memory until his hearing was restored in the 1980s with surgery.

Valli continued to release albums, with his most recent studio album released in 2007 (Romancing the '60s).

Frank Valli was married 3 times, first to Mary Mandel (divorced in 1971), MaryAnn Hannigan (Married 1974, divorced in 1982), and then Randy Clohessy (married 1984, divorced in 2014). Valli is father of three daughters, Antonia, Francine, and Celia, a son, Francesco, and twin boys, Emilio and Brando.

Jersey Boys

The film Jersey Boys is the feature film version of the Tony award winning Broadway play about The Four Seasons.

In addition to John Lloyd Young playing the part of Frankie Vallie, the other members of The Four Seasons portrayed in the film are Erich Bergen (as Bob Gaudio), Vincent Piazza (as Tommy DeVito), and Michael Lomendo (as Nick Massi).

The film also features Christopher Walken as mob boss Gyp DeCarolo, Mike Doyle as producer Bob Crewe, Renee Marino as Mary Delgado (Frankie's first wife), and Joey Russo as a young Joe Pesci.

Will John Lloyd Young repeat his Tony success and earn himself an Oscar nomination, or perhaps an Oscar win for his portrayal of this Real (Reel) Person