HBO Films' Len Amato, Linda Kenney Baden, and Al Pacino at the 'Phil Spector' premiere afterparty.
”Do I know if he’s a murderer or not? I really don’t talk about that actually. It’s not my province,” Al Pacino said at the March 13 preem of HBO’s “Phil Spector.” “I played the part and I don’t take a stand. What authority do I have? I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t. Whether he’s guilty or not, I can’t speak to that. But invariably these people believe something, whatever it is, to go on living. Whatever they find, I’m not saying Phil Spector did, they find a way to cope with whatever it is. It’s a different thing when there’s a conviction and there’s a punishment there.”
The pic unspooled at the Time Warner Center in Gotham. Later, at the Porter House afterparty, HBO’s Len Amato said that the project began with Pacino seeing Vikram Jayanti’s 2009 doc, “The Agony and Ecstasy of Phil Spector.”
“Barry Levinson saw the same documentary, and because Barry and Al had also done ‘You Don’t Know Jack’ about Jack Kervokian for us, we had a relationship,” Amato noted. “Then David Mamet saw the documentary and also saw an incredible character he could riff off of. That’s why the disclaimer is in the front; so David can do his take on what the mythological aspect of Phil Spector was.”
Attorney Linda Kenney Baden, played by Helen Mirren in the pic, defended Spector in the first trial, which ended in a hung jury, but not the second. “Because I was so sick,” she said at Porter House. “I had contacted this pneumonia that gives you reactive arthritis and couldn’t work the following year. I’m all better now.
“I never had a problem working with Phil Spector,” Baden added. “I believed in his innocence then and I believe in it now.”
As for the HBO film, “I think it puts forward the discussion: Was he convicted on the basis that people perceived he was a freak? Do they perceive emotion was more important than evidence? I think it opens that conversation and we need to have it not just in this case but in every single case where it exists,” said Baden.
Writer-director Mamet was missing, grounded on the West Coast due to bronchitis. Mirren was in London reprising her Oscar-winning Queen Elizabeth II in “The Audience.”