Beginning with the premise that the biopic is a form of adaptation and an example of intermediality, this collection examines the multiplicity of 'source texts' and the convergence of different media in this genre, alongside the concurrent issues of fidelity and authenticity that accompany this form. The contributors focus on big and small screen biopics of British celebrities from the late twentieth and twenty-first centuries, attending to their myth-making and myth-breaking potential. Related topics are the contemporary British biopic's participation in the production and consumption of celebrated lives, and the biopic's generic fluidity and hybridity as evidenced in its relationship to such forms as the bio-docudrama. Offering case studies of film biographies of literary and cultural icons, including Elizabeth I, Elizabeth II, Diana Princess of Wales, John Lennon, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Beau Brummel, Carrington and Beatrix Potter, the essays address how British identity and heritage are interrogated in the (re)telling and showing of these lives, and how the reimagining of famous lives for the screen is influenced by recent processes of manufacturing celebrity.
MA!rta Minier is Lecturer in Drama at the University of South Wales, UK, and Maddalena Pennacchia is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at Roma Tre University, Italy.
Contents: Foreword, Richard J. Hand; Interdisciplinary perspectives on the biopic: an introduction, Marta Minier and Maddalena Pennacchia; Culturally British bio(e)pics: from Elizabeth to The King's Speech, Maddalena Pennacchia; Life and death in the media spotlight: the People's Princess as royal celebrity, Alessandra Ruggiero; Reframing the royal performance: Helen Mirren's 'transformative acting' and celebrity self-presentation in The Queen, Isobel Johnstone; Joining history to celebiography and heritage to documentary on the small screen: spotlight on the content of the form in the metamediatic royal bio-docudrama The Queen, Marta Minier; Shakespeare's life on film and television: Shakespeare in Love and A Waste of Shame, Paul J.C.M. Franssen; Austenmania, or the female biopic as literary heritage, Margarida Esteves Pereira; Beyond 'sex and drugs and lyrical ballads': high in/fidelity in Julien Temple's Pandaemonium, Liz Jones; 'Screening' the dandy: Beau Brummell between history and glamour, Matteo Fabbris; Straightening the skein: art, biography and gender politics in Christopher Hampton's Carrington, Monika Pietrzak-Franger; 'The child is father of the man...' - and the author: screening the lives of children's authors, Anja Muller; Nowhere Boy: a portrait of John Lennon as a young man, Lucia Esposito; Index.