There are lots of levels to fame and celebrity, including almost famous, kinda famous, famous famous and more. Any chart would have to include at its top "Mick Jagger famous." For well over 50 years he has been the center of his own universe as frontman for the Rolling Stones, easily among the best-known people in the world.
Aside from his day job as a musician, Jagger has long had a hand in the movies as well. His early roles include a reclusive rock star in Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg's "Performance" and the titular Australian outlaw in Tony Richardson's "Ned Kelly." As a producer he has been involved in such films as "Bent" and "Get On Up" and the HBO series "Vinyl."
"The Burnt Orange Heresy," which has returned to theaters after an abbreviated run earlier this year, marks Jagger's first credited screen role since 2001's "The Man From Elysian Fields." The new film was directed by Giuseppe Capotondi and based on a novel by Charles Willeford from a screenplay by Scott B. Smith (an Oscar nominee for "A Simple Plan") that resets the action from Florida to Italy.
In the film a down-on-his-luck art critic (Claes Bang) is existing on the margins of the art world when he meets a young American woman (Elizabeth Debicki) and invites her to join him on a trip to a wealthy art dealer's luxurious villa on Lake Como. There the dealer, Joseph Cassidy (Jagger), wants the critic to procure a painting by an enigmatic artist (Donald Sutherland) living on the property. This sets in motion a complex scheme of lies, forgery and murder. In just a few scenes, Jagger brings an aristocratic ease, charm and underlying menace to the role of Cassidy.
As Capotondi said of meeting and working with Jagger, "I was very, very nervous. You can imagine just entering the room where Mick Jagger is sitting, waiting for you. It was quite unnerving, but he's a simple kind of soul, very nice, very humble, very willing to help. And it was like that on set as well. He wasn't the rock star, he was just like any other actor. He took it very seriously."
The film was initially released in early March just as theaters were on the brink of being closed. Now it is back in release around the country, including L.A's Vineland Drive-In.
Jagger got on the phone from France last week to talk about life during quarantine, his long relationship to movies and what song he would DJ at a political rally.
Q: What has lockdown life been like for you?
A: It's not really locked down where I am now. Just people are very safe and keep distance. And they wear masks if they go shopping or out anywhere. If you go into a store, you have sanitizer at the door, then you go out another door, if there's another door. It's all very organized
Q: The release of "The Burnt Orange Heresy" was cut short and it's now being rereleased, plus the Rolling Stones had to postpone a series of tour dates. I assume that your life usually is pretty well scheduled, so these last few months must have felt like a real change for you.