28.7.10

PLAYING ALEX

According to the bookies, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, the Irish actor who plays a young Henry VIII in The Tudors, is the favourite to portray the late Alex Higgins in a future biopic.

I remain sceptical as to whether such a film will ever be made. It will be hard to present Higgins in sufficiently sympathetic terms to make an audience warm to the central character. Alex relished life as an anti-hero and any sanitising of him would be doing the Hurricane a disservice.

There was once - about 20 years ago - a film version of his life touted with the excellent John Hurt suggested as the actor who could play him, but this never came off.

A few years ago I saw the one man play about Higgins by Richard Dormer, who also took the role of the twice world champion, at the studio theatre inside the Crucible.

It was superb. It didn't soft soap Higgins's worst traits but still managed to present him in heroic terms.

And there is also the 1984 film Number One, which is loosely based on Higgins.
Bob Geldof - before Band Aid - played a brilliant, rough and ready Irish player who didn't play by the rules in life or snooker.

Sound familiar?

Spoiler alert: at the end Geldof's character is chased around the Crucible arena by his opponent. Poor old Ted Lowe is not impressed.

John Williams referees in the early rounds but is replaced for the final by Freddie 'Parrot Face' Davies.

The film was screened in Sheffield the night before the 1984 World Championship and attended by snooker journalists.

One who was there told me it was so bad that they laughed throughout and were too embarrassed to approach Geldof afterwards.

It's available on DVD for anyone brave enough to give it a go.

As for a Higgins film, I'm not sure even the finest minds of cinemaland could really capture the tortured genius.

Better to watch him at his best: at the table. As ever, Youtube is your friend.

7 comments:

Betty Logan said...

It's been done once, in Raging Bull, which perfectly captured that balance between flawed genius and flawed human being. The end when Jake LaMotta looks in the mirror and recites Brando's "On the Waterfront" monologue is spookily similar to Higgins in recent years.

Here it is on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORFo8JGHK50

If it does get done please let it be more like Raging Bull than Color of Money!

Anonymous said...

to be honest dave, i think you tube isnt your friend.

my suggestion would be to make a DVD (double) with compilations through his life and any profit to charity

Alma said...

I totally agree with you, Dave.
No offence to Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, but I don`t see him play Alex...well, to be honest I don`t see anyone play Alex, but moreover he.

John Hurt would have been a better idea, but...sometimes this type of characters (like Alex Higgins) are better left un-performed, for it is impossible to capture the exact essence of the "tourtured genius" as you very well said it.

Anonymous said...

I don't see the problem. Ken Loach director, David Tennant as Higgins...

Anonymous said...

get ronnie to play alex. he has been trying to be like him for 2 decades!

Anonymous said...

They should get that bloke who played David Frost, Brian Clough and Tony Blair as he seems to be able to turn his hand to anyone.

Snookerbacker

(P.S. Dave there is a problem posting to your provider from mine with an I.D. at the moment)

Anonymous said...

Isn't it ironic that if such a thing was done in his lifetime his financial problems would probably have been solved.