‘Most beautiful boy in the world’ paid price for fame

DEATH IN VENICE

Italian director Luchino Visconti looked all over Europe for “pure beauty” to play a young male sexual object in his 1970 film ‘Death In Venice.’

His final choice, a 15-year-old Swedish orphan named Björn Andrésen, lived to regret ever being given the role. His boyhood made him vulnerable from the start. He never knew who his father was and his mother killed herself when he was ten.

He was given the part of a Polish boy named Tadzio, who becomes the obsession of an aging and ailing homosexual composer played by Dirk Bogarde.

DEATH IN VENICE
Björn Andrésen and Dirk Bogarde.

Young Björn was paid $4,000 for his role ($30,000 in today’s money) and the movie made him an overnight sensation. People around the world fell in love with his face. They compared his beauty to that of Michelangelo’s David.

But the fame would turn into a “living nightmare” for Andrésen that he said scarred him for life.

His story is told in a documentary film, “The Most Beautiful Boy in the World,’ to be released in theaters July 30.

DEATH IN VENICE
Visconti and Björn on the set.

Both Visconti and Bogarde were openly homosexual, and the movie, which was based on a novella by the gay German writer Thomas Mann, was filmed by a mostly gay crew.

Björn Andrésen isn’t homosexual but the movie became a gay cult film.

Now 66, Andrésen describes Visconti as a “cultural predator” who exploited his youth and looks for publicity, taking him to gay nightclubs and turning him into a sex object.

GAY NIGHT CLUBS
An older Andrésen and Visconti out “clubbing.”

Young Björn was a trophy companion for rich Paris men who showered him with gifts and escorted him to the finest restaurants. As he grew older and lost his youthful allure, Andrésen became an alcoholic and suffered bouts of depression, a troubled state of mind that exists today. His acting career as an adult went nowhere and he worked as a music teacher.

After a failed and tragic marriage during which he lost an infant son due to “crib death,” Andrésen lives alone in a flat in Stockholm, “chain smoking,” as the documentary relates, “bickering with his long-suffering girlfriend and getting into trouble with his landlord for leaving the gas stove on.”

PRICE OF STARDOM
Now 66, Björn Andrésen lives alone.

During his lifetime, Luchino Visconti’s lovers included the Austrian actor Helmut Berger, filmmaker Franco Zeffirelli and the last king of Italy, Umberto II.

Visconti died in 1976 at the age of 69.

DOCUMENTARY OUT JULY 30


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‘Breathless’ in Paris and L.A.

MICHEL OR JESSE, WHO’S BETTER?

Cold lonely day in exurban New York, a day to stay inside and watch movies. I checked out the French and American versions of ‘Breathless,’ the iconic movie about a small-time thief who steals a car and impulsively murders a policeman.

Hunted by the police, the anti-hero, Michel, in the French film, and Jesse, in the American, hooks up with a girlfriend and tries to get her to run away with him to, in Michel’s case, Italy, and with Jesse, to Mexico. 

‘Breathless’ French and American versions

The original 1960 French production with Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg and directed by Jean-Luc Godard is regarded as the one true authentic version, with all the mood and atmosphere of classic French cinema.

Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg on the boulevard.

THE AMERICAN VERSION 

The 1983 American version with Richard Gere and Valerie Kaprisky and directed by Jim McBride is seen as crass and unsophisticated.

Gere’s character gyrates to Jerry Lee Lewis, and reads ‘Silver Surfer’ comic books, while Godard’s version moves smoothly to jazz and classical music.

Richard Gere reads the ‘Silver Surfer’ to Valerie Kaprisky.

All that may be true — although I don’t agree — but when it comes to the very last shot in the final scene, the American version, in my opinion, is far more dramatic than the French ending.

THE AMERICAN ENDING

Gere grabbing the gun and spinning around to fire and — FREEZE FRAME —- as Jerry Lee Lewis belts out the song.  Great last shot! Super-dramatic, and romantic as hell.

Valerie Kaprisky is way more warm and sexy than cold, aloof, unsexy Jean Seberg. And throughout the movie, I found Gere’s character to be more likable and endearing than the obnoxious punk Belmondo portrays.

THE FRENCH ENDING

The French ending is similar to the American, with the hapless anti-hero picking up the gun that was tossed onto the road for him. 

But the last shot doesn’t have that killer of a moment when Gere spins around with the gun — FREEZE FRAME — roll credits as Jerry Lee Lewis pounds out the song ‘Breathless.’


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Banned DiCaprio flick exposed

Prohibited from ever being shown in the U.S. and Canada!

Ad-libbed indie flick ‘Don’s Plum’ made in the mid-1990s featured then little-known actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire.

Now superstars, DiCaprio and Maguire fought tooth and nail to prevent the film from ever being released.

Well, now it’s out:

FULL STORY REVEALED FOR FIRST TIME

The New York Post exclusively obtained court documents, footage of depositions from the actors, and other materials that reveal the complete story of the movie DiCaprio and Maguire never wanted the public to see.

Reprinted from the New York Post — story by Steven Greenstreet and Tamar Latin:

Shot over six days between July ‘95 and March ‘96 in “Clerks”-like black-and-white style, it tells the story of a group of 20-something guys who gather every Saturday night at a Los Angeles diner the film is named for, each with a new girl.

DICAPRIO OBNOXIOUS

In it, DiCaprio plays rude, standoffish Derek, whose standout lines are: “Do you girls masturbate at all?” and “I’ll fucking throw a bottle at your face, you goddamn whore.” He does then throw a glass — at Amber Benson of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ fame — in a cringe-inducing scene meant to scare the actress away from the set.

Early DiCaprio flick banned

Maguire’s character, Ian, meanwhile, in one scene — which was cut from the final version of the film at his behest — reveals his unusual masturbation habits.

The characters the stars portray are “not necessarily who [DiCaprio and Maguire] are,” said Tawd Beckman, one of the producers.

“But of course it is so free-flowing and it seems so natural, that an audience is gonna look at that, look at DiCaprio, look at Maguire and say, ‘Oh, that’s who they are.’ ”

1998 LAWSUIT

It’s for that reason that Wheatley, Beckman and others suspect DiCaprio and Maguire didn’t want U.S. audiences to ever see their characters on the big screen.

In depositions given as part of a 1998 lawsuit — which resulted in the film being banned in the country — DiCaprio and Maguire said it was because they never meant for the film school-like project to become a full-length feature.

In the aftermath, DiCaprio moved on to unimaginable fame and star-studded projects, and Maguire got his big break as ‘Spider-Man.’

But the others involved, like Wheatley, had to live with the fallout: ruined careers, destroyed friendships, divorce and thoughts of suicide.


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