Rock star turned independent filmmaker Mick Jagger sounds like any other producer at the Sundance Film Festival when he talks about the obstacles to capturing his story on celluloid. “I wanted to spend five years of my life producing one independent movie,” Jagger jokes when asked why he tried his hand at making films with the spy thriller “Enigma,” which premiered Monday night at annual Park City, Utah, film fest.
“We had to spend lots of time getting the script right and raising the money, everything else that goes with making a film,” the Rolling Stones singer said in an interview before the premiere.
“Enigma” stars Dougray Scott, Kate Winslet, Jeremy Northam, and Saffron Burrows in a tale of romantic intrigue set among British code-breakers trying to unravel German U-boat ciphers during World War II. Directed by Michael Apted (“The World Is Not Enough”), the movie is a thinking man’s cousin to last year’s “U-571.” It’s based on the novel by Robert Harris, with a screenplay by Tom Stoppard (“Shakespeare in Love”).
This is the first finished movie by Jagged Films, the company Jagger and his producing partner, Victoria Pearman, formed in the mid-1990s. “Saturday Night Live” producer Lorne Michaels joined them on “Enigma” and worked with Jagger to secure the rights to the book.
While the project began as a studio film, the producers said they realized they needed to produce it independently to keep it true to its roots. Unlike “U-571,” which made American sailors the heroes of Allied efforts to crack the U-boat codes, “Enigma” sticks to historical facts, with the British leading the deciphering effort.
“This was not an easy sell,” said Jagger. “It’s an English movie without American actors and actresses. It’s a difficult subject, and it’s a relatively difficult ride.”
Despite his and Michaels’ fame, Jagger said “Enigma” came into Sundance much like any other independently financed film, with the producers hoping they could land a distribution deal. “I figure that in a way, Sundance is sort of changing,” Jagger said. “It’s not only unknown filmmakers anymore who bring films up here. Ours has got big-name people in it, but it’s still an independent movie.”
“Enigma” entered the festival as one of the hottest films available for acquisition. Jagger and Michaels said they were confident they would leave with distribution secured.
“We think obviously we’re going to have a buyer, but it’s interesting to see who in the movie industry thinks this is an interesting film and who says, `Oh, we can’t deal with it,'” Jagger said. “This is an intellectual film.”
Jagger’s company plans to produce a romantic drama about author-poet Dylan Thomas and his wife, as well as a film Jagger co-wrote with Martin Scorsese about two music-business partners whose careers span the 1960s to the present.
The singer also said he plans to act in his film company’s movies. He co-stars with Andy Garcia in “Elysian Fields,” due out this year. Jagger has in the past appeared in the films “Freejack,” “Bent,” “Burden Of Dreams,” and “Ned Kelly.”
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