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Rufus Wainwright Working On A Movie Musical (Loosely) Based On His Own Life

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist June 22, 2012 at 4:32PM

In a way, it has always seemed like the life of Rufus Wainwright was headed for the big screen. The son of famed Canadian folk music legends Kate McGarrigle and Loudon Wainwright III, he was born into something close to music royalty. But he forged his own musical path, performing weekly shows in his hometown of Montreal before cutting early demos (listen to one of the songs below) that found their way into the hands of famed producer/arranger Van Dyke Parks who passed it onto DreamWorks head Lenny Waronker, and the next thing you know, he had a record deal (Jon Brion produced his first album). And over the course of six albums, and a couple more live albums, Wainwright showcased himself to be a premiere pop songwriter, with influences as wide-ranging as Tin Pan Alley and high opera, all while putting his own baroque spin on things; Elton John has called him the greatest living songwriter. But Wainwright has battled his demons too, surviving a rape as a teenager, with a life of excess that has included a pretty hard addiction to drugs.
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Rufus Wainwright

In a way, it has always seemed like the life of Rufus Wainwright was headed for the big screen. The son of famed Canadian folk music legends Kate McGarrigle and Loudon Wainwright III, he was born into something close to music royalty. But he forged his own musical path, performing weekly shows in his hometown of Montreal before cutting early demos (listen to one of the songs below) that found their way into the hands of famed producer/arranger Van Dyke Parks who passed it onto DreamWorks head Lenny Waronker, and the next thing you know, he had a record deal (Jon Brion produced his first album). And over the course of six albums, and a couple more live albums, Wainwright showcased himself to be a premiere pop songwriter, with influences as wide-ranging as Tin Pan Alley and high opera, all while putting his own baroque spin on things; Elton John has called him the greatest living songwriter. But Wainwright has battled his demons too, surviving a rape as a teenager, with a life of excess that has included a pretty hard addiction to drugs.

All this to say, there's lots to draw on as the musician tells Rolling Stone he's now working on a movie entitled "The Great White Way." "We're really early in that process," he said. "It's loosely based on my life – very, very loose. Perhaps it's more of a kind of mythic Rufus that he's trying to create. It stems from some of my past glories and tragic endings, but it's by no means a biography of me or anything."

Tony award-winning scribe Enda Walsh (who also co-wrote "Hunger" with Steve McQueen) is working on the project, which immediately gives it a higher profile than most celebrity/vanity projects. But Rufus creating a mythic version of his own life? Yeah, we could definitely see that. But until that project develops, he's currently on the road promoting his latest album Out Of The Game, which -- in case you missed it -- has Helena Bonham Carter starring in the video for the title single.

This article is related to: Rufus Wainwright


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