Loosely based on the experiences and personalities of David Bowie and Iggy Pop, VELVET GOLDMINE is a wild, glitter-laced trip through the 1970s era of Glam rock. Fictional characters Brian Slade (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) and Curt Wild (Ewan McGregor) are personifications of Glam rock's ideals, with the mysterious and androgynous Slade balanced by the intense, raucous Wild. When Slade disappears, the era itself seems to melt away, swallowed up by the slick 1980s. But Slade's story, and the story of Glam rock, is retold when journalist Arthur Stuart (Christian Bale) is assigned to discover what really happened to Slade. Through his own memories of this time, Arthur faces his childhood fears and fantasies. With a nod to Oscar Wilde, a CITIZEN KANE-like structure, and an overall sumptuous atmosphere, VELVET GOLDMINE is director Todd Haynes's unique look at homosexuality, indulgence, and, most importantly, rock & roll.
Todd Haynes - American Director/Editor
Carter Burwell - American composer, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
James Lyons - Actor/Editor
Scott Meek - EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Toni Collette - Actress/"Spotswood"
Michael Stipe - Musician, R.E.M.
Christian Bale - Welsh actor, BATMAN BEGINS
Eddie Izzard - British comic
Randall Poster - PRODUCER/WRITER/MUSIC
Ewan McGregor - Scottish actor, TRAINSPOTTING
Sandy Powell - Costume Designer
Maryse Alberti - Director of Photography
In the 1970s, when glam rock was all the rage in London and New York, the fictional Brian Slade (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) was the poster boy for its music. In an unprecedented publicity stunt, Slade disappears forever. Or does he? More than a decade later, it's up to journalist Arthur Stuart (Christian Bale) to find out what really happened to Slade. In doing so, he faces his own demons of that era, and recalls his love for glam rock, for Slade, and for Slade's much-publicized partner and lover Curt Wild (Ewan McGregor). With music from the era, and amazing costumes by acclaimed designer Sandy Powell, VELVET GOLDMINE is a glittery cinematic experience.
Theatrical release: November 6, 1998 Filmed in London and Manchester, England. The film's title comes from "Velvet Goldmine," a rare David Bowie song which has appeared as a bonus track on certain pressings of his landmark album, THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS. Director Todd Haynes hoped to use original Bowie songs on the film's soundtrack, but Bowie opted not to give him permission. The soundtrack includes original 1970s songs by Brian Eno, Lou Reed, Roxy Music, and T-Rex. The album also includes songs by Pulp, Placebo, Shudder to Think, Grant Lee Buffalo and two supergroup bands that were conceived solely for the film: the Venus in Furs and the Wylde Ratttz. The Venus in Furs included Radiohead members Thom Yorke and Jon Greenwood, while the Wylde Ratttz featured Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and Steve Shelley, as well as Mike Watt and former Stooge Ron Asheton. Jonathan Rhys-Myers and Ewan McGregor both sing in the film and on its soundtrack, performing songs such as Brian Eno's "Baby's on Fire" and the Stooges' "T.V. Eye," respectively. VELVET GOLDMINE executive producer Michael Stipe is best known as the lead singer of the rock band R.E.M. Christian Bale receiveded critical acclaim in 1987 when he starred as the young leading character in Steven Spielberg's EMPIRE OF THE SUN. Eddie Izzard, who plays Jerry Devine, is an English comic who had a successful special on HBO in 1999. Toni Collette, who plays Mandy Slade, was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in the supernatural thriller THE SIXTH SENSE in 1999. Certain interview scenes in the film were patterned after Orson Welles's CITIZEN KANE.
"...In re-creating an era as a gorgeous carnal dream, Haynes celebrates the art of the possible..." - 11/26/1998 Rolling Stone, p.132
"...Haynes' film brilliantly exposes the ideals of youth culture..." - 11/01/1998 Sight and Sound, p.63-4
"...[Haynes is] brilliantly audacious....An eccentric hybrid of pop opera and surreal essay....A ravishing rock dream..." -- Rating: B+ - 11/13/1998 Entertainment Weekly, p.52
"...Dazzlingly surreal....Blazing with exquisite yet abstract passions, and with quite a lot to look at on the side....Ewan McGregor makes a fabulously charismatic rock star..." - 11/06/1998 New York Times, p.E15
"...A fascinating reflection on the mythical power of music idols and the nature of memory, identity and nostalgia..." - 07/01/1998 Box Office, p.125
"...Fascinating....GOLDMINE dives headfirst into the era's overhyped perversity, and luxuriates in the pouty lips, taut bodies, and fabulous frippery of the glam demigods..." - 12/01/1998 Premiere, p.32-3
"...VELVET GOLDMINE is a feverish dream of a movie, a riot of color and attitude that is all pop decadence, all night long..." - 11/06/1998 Los Angeles Times, p.C8
"[I]t revels in artifice, is touched by pretension, and dazzles with brilliance." - 08/01/2005 Sight and Sound, p.33