With news that the story of Guns N’ Roses is gong to get the full Hollywood treatment, all thoughts have turned in a serpentine manner to the actor who will play the role of Axl Rose. Is Christian Bale’s name slowly elbowing its way into the frame, one wonders?
If there’s any band who’ll make an entertaining movie adaptation, it’s Guns N’ Roses. During the Appetite For Destruction era, it would have been nigh on impossible for any band to be any more cool, reckless, menacing, explosive, dynamic, and unique.
Like the four riders of the apocalypse, plus one, Axl, Slash, Izzy, and Duff strode into town with their trademark brand of bottled lightning, closely followed by Steven on the drums.
If rock n’ roll had a look, Guns N’ Roses were it. If rock n’ roll had an attitude then they defined it, and if rock n’ roll had a sound, Guns N’ Roses owned it. With an effortless cool and ragged glory, the hell-raising outlaws scaled the highest peaks and entertained with the most elusive of epiphanies.
Then, like anything touched by the hand of god or sense of infinite otherness, it didn’t last, and fell apart quicker than one of Slash’s solos. What was once raw and without compromise broke down in a very mundane, ignoble, and cliched manner.
By the time the Use Your Illusion era came crawling down the highway, the wheels had already started to fall off this rock n’ roll juggernaut, as massive egos, frayed nerves, addictive personalities, a weary nihilism, and an indifferent approach all conspired to create a freak show without equal. A freak show that would eventually run its course and come to a grinding and unspectacular halt.
Yet, before their sad and slow decline, for the briefest of periods, Guns N’ Roses ignited the world and one another, untouchable, unbounded, and complete.
So thankfully the Guns N’ Roses biopic currently in development concentrates on the Appetite For Destruction era, when Axl and the band were mean, lean, and full of jumping beans and didn’t carry the bewildering botch, bloat, and baggage of their twilight years.
According to Billboard, the film will be adapted from Marc Canter’s 2008 biography of the band, Reckless Road: Guns N’ Roses and the Making of Appetite for Destruction.
Spin reported that Canter has specifically stated that the forthcoming flick will not be a documentary, but it will be “very detailed” with “no short cuts.”
Posting to GNR’s message board, Canter outlined a few details, and told fans that in no uncertain terms the film is going to kick a** as well as revealing a few intriguing things about the film.
“I do have a big say so on the script which is still being put together now but so far looking cool. I am going to see that everyone in the cast is doing their job and doing justice to the band. Since I was there, I know what the dialog was between the band for many of the events that took place. When you find out who is making the movie, you will then understand that it will be very cool. I’m proud of all the hard work that was put into this project and it’s just going to KICK A**! In no way will it be a cheesy movie like Rock Star. There really is such a great story here that even the outtakes will be great. The truth is a movie could be made just from Hell Tour alone which was only about a week or so long.”
Somewhat unsurprisingly, Axl Rose will not be involved with the film, but Canter has elaborated that Axl and the rest of the band will get to review the finished script “and help fix things that are off a bit. The goal is to get it right.”
“As you all know Axl doesn’t support anything to do with the old band except playing their songs live. However I do think he will be happy with the fact that it will clear up some stories that have been said about him from those days that were told incompletely.”
The Guardian reports that Slash, however, has been much less enthusiastic.
“I don’t think rock n’ roll translates in the movies,” he told the Belfast Telegraph earlier this year. “I don’t think they really get the gritty vibe of what it’s like… [and] I would not like to see a Guns N’ Roses biopic.”
Whether Slash, Axl, or anyone else who used to be in Guns n’ Roses want to see the film go ahead, these things tend to have a life of their own, as Canter explained.
“In the end it’s just a cool story about five guys that got together in Los Angeles and put together great music and made it work and the reckless road that they traveled on the way.”
To date no one has been cast for the project but Canter has suggested they’ll probably expect to enlist some A-list actors.
A comment which has caused a great deal of speculation about who will fill the shoes of one of the greatest frontmen of all time – Axl Rose.
Obviously, to play the Guns N’ Roses singer, any actor would need to bring a certain amount of complexity, anger, paranoia, and wounded vulnerability to the table, as was well as carrying a tangible “F**k you” air about their person. Not an easy ask.
I think we can safely rule the likes of Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise out. Too old and too clean-cut. Robert Pattinson perhaps? Nowhere near enough edge or menace. How about Johnny Depp? Plausible in some alternate reality perhaps, but just a little too quirky. Can you just imagine the travesty that would be Captain Axl Sparrow?
What about Leonardo DiCaprio? The face just wouldn’t fit, I’m afraid. Jude Law? You’re kidding! Ryan Gosling then? Too cool and laconic. Plus, he was once a member of the Mickey Mouse club.
Ewan McGregor? Too charming. Well, who then? Christian Bale, that’s who. The actor who put the darkness into the Dark Knight carries a similar strain of intensity and aloofness as Axl and would have a definite edge over the entire flock of other famous thespians when it comes to playing the Guns n’ Roses singer.
Both Axl and Bale are obsessive about what they do because they’ve long realized that the devil is always in the detail. Both are extremely guarded about their private lives, and above all, both are prone to full-blown and expletive rants in public. Remember Bale’s vicious and rambling “Why the f**k you trashing my scene?” tirade on the set of the 2009 Terminator movie?
It’s not a million miles removed from Axl’s legendary onstage rants about Warren Beatty, Kurt Cobain, Metallica, and of course, parking attendants.
When Christian Bale recently revealed to Empire Magazine that upon hearing that Ben Affleck was taking over the role of the Caped Crusader, he just “stopped and stared into nothing for half an hour,” you can just imagine that such neurosis is coming from pretty much the same place that led a young Axl to jump out of Slash’s car as it was speeding down the highway because he didn’t like what his lead guitarist was saying.
Just like in American Psycho, The Machinist, and The Fighter, Bale could have a career defining role in the new Guns N’ Roses film. Whether this match made in Heaven — or should that be Hell? — will ever take place is another story.
Right! Now we’ve got the casting for Axl Rose sorted, let’s move onto Slash. Ideas anyone?