TILDA Swinton is to play Andy Warhol's muse Nico in a blockbuster film written by the creators of Bladerunner. Nico was part of the Velvet Underground with Lou Reed. But the price of her fame was heroin addiction and a turbulent private life. Now the story of the German supermodel and singer, whose lovers included a pantheon of rock greats - among them Mick Jagger and Jimmy Hendrix - is to be told on film.
Scots director David Mackenzie, whose erotically charged version of Young Adam, with Ewan McGregor and Swinton, earned him international fame, is expected to begin shooting next year. The Vagabond Films production, budgeted at more than £10m, marks Mackenzie's debut working in the US. The script has been written by Hollywood husband and wife team Jane and David People who penned Bladerunner.
...Mackenzie's agent, Sean Gascoigne, said: "This is a very exciting time for David. Young Adam raised his international profile enormously. "David has been a fan of the Velvet Underground and Nico's music for a long time. He loved the book and the script, and when the opportunity to make a film about Nico came along he jumped at it."
...The film is based on a biography by fellow musician and band member James Young, which starts in Manchester when Berlin-born Nico - real name Christa Paffgen - was at her lowest point in 1982. As a model she had strutted the catwalks in Berlin, Paris and New York, even landing a contract with the Ford Modelling Agency. But in Rome she met Federico Fellini, who gave her first a bit part then a starring role in the classic 1960s' film La Dolce Vita. She moved to New York where Warhol chose her to sing lead vocals with the Velvet Underground.
But after less than three years Nico left, suffering from heroin addiction. It was while in the north-west of England that local promoter Dr Demetrius saw an opportunity, hired musicians to back her and set off on a tour of Italy. This is Nico's last "scene" with keyboard player Young acting as a Rock Boswell, recording the final days of a celebrity in the twilight zone of faded fame.
For the next six years, Nico, Young and the rest of the band performed for often disappointed audiences everywhere from LA to Australia and Prague to Japan, in tours ineptly planned by Demetrius and modified by Nico's need to score drugs.
Once again, I think Tilda Swinton is a fine choice, but I rather enjoyed the performance of the actress who played Nico in "The Door." I thought she did a great job. Ahem.