BBC secures Spector interview

90-minute film to air this fall

Phil Spector has given a full-length interview — his first in 35 years — to the BBC for a documentary on BBC2’s fall schedule.

TV director Vikram Jayanti is helming with longtime Arena filmmaker Anthony Wall producing “Arena — The Agony and the Ecstasy of Phil Spector.” The 90-minute film is co-produced by the BBC and Jayanti’s Vix Pix.

The rock genius famous for creating his Wall of Sound is on trial in Los Angeles for murder.

“I like to make definitive films about creative people,” Jayanti said. “I am not interested in pursuing the question of his guilt or innocence but his standing as an artist and his psychological landscape.

“Spector is a tortured genius, a deeply troubled man, who speaks openly about his pain — the pain of his father killing himself and the pain of his own son dying. But he is also a very funny man and a brilliant mimic. He does a brilliant impersonation of John Lennon, who he regarded as a special friend.”

The BBC said no money had changed hands in persuading Spector to talk.

“I wrote him a letter,” Jayanti said. “I think it was the combination of the BBC, Anthony Wall and myself that persuaded him to agree to make the film. We have complete editorial control. It’s an empathetic film about a key musician.”

The program will be assembled from some eight hours of interviews at Spector’s home, the Castle, said Wall, who described Spector “as a cross between Edmund Burke and Jerry Lee Lewis.”

BBC2 controller Roly Keating said: “The final shape of the film will be dictated by what happens at the trial, but I am confident we will be able to screen the program this autumn.”

Other highlights of BBC2’s fall season include “British Film Forever,” a series celebrating U.K. movies and featuring interviews with more than 200 leading Brit thesps and helmers. Michael Caine, Anthony Hopkins, Kate Winslet, Ewan McGregor, Gurinder Chadha and Richard Curtis are among those featured.

The series is being made with the support of the British Film Institute and the U.K. Film Council.

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