Family seek to take the sex out of Hendrix

Film of Jacobean tragedy said to be too raunchy for pop star's music. Louise Jury reports

Think of the late Jimi Hendrix and think of sex and drugs and rock and roll. Tragedy, even. Everything the director Marcus Thompson wanted for his film of the Jacobean drama The Changeling.

He approached the Hendrix estate for permission to use the music. Alan Douglas, then Hendrix's musical curator, said they could do business if the movie was as weird as they said.

Mr Thompson showed him a rough cut of the film, shot in Alicante in Spain with a cast including the singer Ian Dury, comedian Billy Connolly and performance poet John Cooper Clarke. "Well, it's as weird as you say," came the reply. Permission granted.

But when the Hendrix family regained control of the musician's work last year and saw the finished Thompson film - a labour of love started six years ago - they were not happy.

Rumour has it the problem was the sex and violence, the culmination in "an orgy of madness, sex and death", to quote the publicity. A music industry source said: "They are very sensitive to the way Jimi's music is used."

Janie Hendrix, the late star's sister, was not specific. "After we screened the film, we decided it was not an appropriate venue for Jimi's work," she told The Independent. "Jimi's music contains powerful visions and we did not feel that what was portrayed in The Changeling was consistent with them." They were not aware any contract had been signed, she added.

So Mr Thompson was left with an unusable finished film. It had already been premiered with the Hendrix soundtrack at last year's Glastonbury festival. That was followed by a showing in Leicester Square, London, where it was snapped up by distributors who signed a deal to sell the film to Japan before going bust. When Janie Hendrix withdrew permission for the music this spring, it sealed the catalogue of problems that have plagued Mr Thompson's project.

"I was feeling a bit sorry for myself," Mr Thompson said. "The Hendrix idea had been there from the very start and inspired me all the way through. To have it taken away at the last minute ... And The Changeling is full of powerful visions. It's all very curious."

He was forced to consider alternatives to replace the music or abandon the project. He settled on a new soundtrack by JS Bach and Henry Purcell and the re-scored version should be finished by Christmas. A new screening will be arranged.

"It's absolutely fabulous," Mr Thompson said yesterday. "It's a completely different movie. For me, the Hendrix works fabulously but I was stunned by this new version. Luckily, the great thing about this movie is it doesn't date."

Despite all the difficulties, Mr Thompson, a former pop video-maker in his 40s, said he was not bitter. And at least he should now be able to pay those who gave their services in return for payment when the film was released, including royal wedding dress-maker, Elizabeth Emanuel, who designed the costumes. "It's a classic deferment movie, it's just been deferred a bit longer than normal. At least I think they will see it now. And I've still got the Hendrix. I can still see my movie as it was."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Software / Web Developer - ASP.NET

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company produces a wide ra...

Recruitment Genius: Office / Sales Manager

£22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established and expanding South...

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones