Jack Osbourne on 'God Bless Ozzy' Documentary: 'This Was About More Who He Is As a Person'
Jack Osbourne says he's "kind of ecstatic" about the two-thumbs-up reception "God Bless Ozzy Osbourne," the documentary about his father that he co-produced, has received since its April debut at the Tribeca Film Festival.
"It was going to go one of two ways -- people either were going to say 'That's a pile of crap!' or 'That's awesome!'" the younger Osbourne tells Billboard.com. "It seems to be like everyone's going the way I want it." In other words, that it's not a "pile of crap."
The film plays for a broader audience over the next week with special showings at more than 400 theaters nationwide on Aug. 24 and 29 (details are available at www.fathomevents.com). A DVD "should be coming out around Christmas," according to Osbourne, and he also says two TV networks are vying for the rights to show it "within the next six months."
The DVD, he says, will add about 25 minutes of bonus content to the 90-minute film, which Osbourne and directors Mike Fleiss and Mike Piscitelli culled from nearly 2,000 hours of performance footage and archival and new interviews with Ozzy, family members -- including siblings, children and wife/manager Sharon Osbourne -- and musical colleagues. "It's very... honest," Ozzy Osbourne says. "When Jack said he was gonna do it, I said, 'All I want you to do is don't make a film to make me happy. Make a film as you.' I didn't say, 'I don't like that, take that out.' Whatever he felt he wanted to do in, I didn't have anything to do with it whatsoever. I let him decide what to do with it."
Jack Osbourne says the trickiest part about making the film was trimming an epic story into the allotted time. "I would have liked to make it into two movies," he explains. "The first cut ran two and a half hours. The original Black Sabbath section was 45 minutes. It was just too much; when you make a documentary that long, the fans can sit there all day long, but the non-fan is not going to have the patience and excitement, so we had to pick and choose wisely what we wanted to use. We had to really make it the kind of film that grandma, who doesn't like Ozzy Osbourne, could say, 'That's really a good documentary. I learned something from that.'"
Osbourne says that the DVD will include some more recent observations his father made about the death of guitarist Randy Rhoads in a March 1982 airplane accident, which was inspired by audience comments at Tribeca. "People were frustrated there was nothing of my dad, present day, talking about Randy," Osbourne notes. "In the film we used an archival clip. We have a really emotional (interview) where my dad gets really into talking about Randy and his death and what it meant to him, how he feels this massive level of guilt and remorse over it. So we put that in the DVD." Osbourne says the idea of a soundtrack album, he says, "hasn't really come up, but we're not completely excluding it."
Ultimately, Osbourne is pleased that "God Bless Ozzy Osbourne" represents its well-caricatured subject in a way he hasn't been before.
"I was essentially fed up with my dad having this Osbournes-esque image in the mainstream media," he explains. "That's really frustrated me. Since 'The Osbournes' (reality TV show) he got sober and became a totally different person, and I wanted to kind of celebrate that. Everyone knows what he's done, so for me this was about more who he is as a person. The focus is not so much Ozzy as it is John. That's the story I wanted to tell."