Entertainment behind the scenes
Who’s that actor playing Jim Morrison at the beginning of the new Doors documentary opening in limited release on Friday?
One journalist who saw the movie at the Sundance Film Festival last year was so disgusted that writer/director Tom DiCillo had strayed into fiction that he stormed out of the screening after a few minutes, Doors drummer John Densmore recalled Wednesday.
The only problem, Densmore noted, is that Morrison was the actor playing Morrison. DiCillo’s “When You’re Strange” kicks off with an excerpt from Morrison’s 1969 experimental movie “HWY,” in which the rock star plays a hitchhiker riding through the desert.
“It’s a documentary, a hundred percent organic,” Densmore, dressed completely in white to mark Ravi Shankar’s 90th birthday, said during a Q&A at the Grammy Museum. “The guy with the beard is Jim, and it’s not a reality TV show.” (Densmore is at the right in the undated file photo. Morrison is second from left, between keyboardist Ray Manzarek at left and guitarist Robby Krieger.)
The haunting message that keeps returning throughout Tom DiCillo’s documentary about Jim Morrison and The Doors — “When You’re Strange” — is that the other three band members were growing fed up with their leader’s erratic behaviour and losing battle with drugs and alcohol. But they never brought up the issue that so much exasperated them even though Morrison’s alcohol and drug-induced demise was causing them all sorts of problems.
DiCillo’s otherwise favourable portrayal of the band, a film shown internationally for the first time at the Berlin Film Festival, is critical of drummer John Densmore, guitarist Robbie Krieger and keyboard player Ray Manzarek for failing Morrison by avoiding the issue that was tearing the singer, and their band, apart rather than talking to him about it.