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Wendy R. Williams Talks With
Stephen Woolley and Monet Mazur
Stoned Press Roundtable
Monday March 13, 2006
Opia Restaurant – New York City

Stoned Opened in NYC
March 24, 2006
See review


Monet Mazur and Leo Gregory in Stoned

Stephen Woolley’s Stoned tells the story Brian Jones, the amazingly talented but doomed Rolling Stone. Brian founded the Stones only to succumb to the temptations of the era - losing the love of his life, Anita Pallenberg, to his bandmate Keith Richardson and racking up enough drug convictions to prevent him from touring the United Stages with the band. His life ended in tragedy in 1969 when he drowned in his own pool, turning his life into a cautionary tale about the dangers of sex, drugs and rock and roll. But the story continues, did Brian really drown because of a drug overdose or was he murdered? Was his death due to his own excesses or was it the result of the envy created by Brian’s flaunting of his drunken-rock-star-life-style? And why have the police not reopened the case after Brian’s builder, Frank Thorogood , gave a death-bed confession and admitted to murdering Brian?

On Monday March 13, 2006, I attended the roundtable at Opia Restaurant and Cabaret (130 East 57th Street). Opia is decorated in a Moorish style and was the perfect venue for a press roundtable for a film about the Moroccan-music-obsessed Brian Jones.

The Interview with Stephen Woolley


Stephen Woolley
Photo Credit Wendy R. Williams

Question about the casting:

Stephen Woolley: I wanted someone who looked like Brian and was relatively unknown so people would not think - there’s Jude Law with a wig or Ewan McGregor with sideburns. Monet Mazur looks just like Anita Pallenberg.

Question about his inspiration for the film:

Stephen Woolley: I saw a book about Brian Jones and then I read Brian Jones - Who Killed Christopher Robin? : The Truth Behind The Murder of a Rolling Stone by Terry Rawlings. But these books did not mention Anna Wohlin and Janet. Then Anna wrote a book and I had to buy the rights to that too, The Wild And Wicked World Of Brian Jones: The Amazing True Story Of My Love Affair With The Murdered Rolling Stone. So I ended up purchasing the rights to three books.

Question about the research for the film:

Stephen Woolley: I interviewed both Anna and Janet. Anna told me that Frank was fired that day, which was a crucial bit of information that had not come out before. And I knew that Brian like to play mind games with people. When I finally found Janet and was able to talk her into talking with me, Janet told me that Frank tried to molest her that night and that he seemed dazed.

Question about his choice of a subject – why do a movie about Brian alone and not about the Stones?

Stephen Woolley: As Bill Wyman has said, “No Jones, no Stones.”
Brian Jones was the dangerous and charismatic one. He was inspired by African American music and he was mining a rich trove of African American music from artists such as Robert Johnson. At that time, no one in England had been exposed to this music. Brian also traveled to Morocco to listen to Moroccan music. At that time, world music was not even a term, so he was ahead of his times.

When the Stones were founded, Mick and Keith were the shy ones, but Mick and Keith were willing to work for it. Brian wanted the sex and the glamor but he did not want to do the work. Most people who came into contact with Brian did not like him.

Question about the conflict between Brian's builder, Frank Thorogood (Brian’s alleged murderer), and Brian:

Stephen Woolley: London in the sixties was a bomb site. Frank’s generation had been raised during the rationing of World War II and they valued work and discipline. They were angry about these effete boys with all that money and girls. People believe that the sixties were swinging but they were swinging for only a tiny percentage – the privileged few who lived in a bubble. Everyone else wanted them to go away.

Question about why the police never really investigated Brian’s death:

Stephen Woolley: At that time, it was a much better story to say that Brian had died from an excess of drugs than to say that he had been murdered. If he were murdered, he would get sympathy.

Question about the bisexual undertones in the film: Was Brian bisexual or did he just get drunk and act bisexual?

Stephen Woolley: He got drunk and became bisexual (Woolley said this like he was telling a joke). There is a lot of subtext about bisexuality. But I did not have evidence that Brian was actually bisexual. There is no Brokeback Mountain scene.

Question about the full frontal nudity in the film:

Stephen Woolley: I hate films where you see women topless and the men are totally dressed. There is a lot of nudity in the film, but that is what the sixties were about – nudity and drugs. But there is both male and female nudity in my film.

Question about whether the Stones have seen the film:

Stephen Woolley: I know they know about it but don’t know if they have seen it. The Stones are like a brick wall – very different from other bands. They are a huge machine.

Question about his filming technique:

Stephen Woolley: I used sixties-era cameras and film stock. I wanted to make you feel like you were going on a trip.

Question about why he decided to direct this film: (Stoned was Woolley’s directorial debut.)

Stephen Woolley: When I was first starting out in the business, a couple of times people told me that I should be a producer, but at that time I did not know that meant. (But he proceeded to find out, producing films like Breakfast on Pluto, The End of the Affair, and Michael Collins). While producing, I have always been a sounding board for my directors and have always enjoyed the aesthetics of film. I have always been drawn to subversive material that most producers fear. So when it was suggested that I should direct (Stoned), I said sure, why not direct.

The Interview with Monet Mazur


Monet Mazur
Photo credit Wendy R. Williams

Monet Mazur plays Anita Pallenberg, both the love of Brian’s life and his drunken punching bag. Anita's leaving Brian for Keith Richards created the rock-myth that Brian died from a broken heart.

Question about the research she did to create her role:

Monet Mazur: I saw A Degree of Murder (Mord und Totschlag), the German film that Anita Palenberg did (Brian Jones composed the score for this film) and I also saw her in photos. It is weird to play someone who is real and still alive. My parents lived in London during that period (the late sixties) when it was the epitome of sex, drugs and rock and roll. The first album my parents gave me was by Led Zeppelin. And I love the fashions of the period (epitomized by) people like Viva.

Question about working with Stephen:

Monet Mazur: Stephen knew exactly how he wanted the movie to be: he was an encyclopedia of information about that period. Whenever we had a question, her had forty-five minutes of information.

Question about what were her favorite Stones songs:

Monet Mazur: Angie (reportedly inspired by Anita Pallenberg) and Painted Black


Question about the difficulty of performing the S & M scenes, the scenes where she was being physically abused by Brian and about all the nudity:

Monet Mazur: It was not my favorite part but it had to be in the movie. That is who they were. Anita was not the kind of person who would walk around covered in a sheet. But I was not the only one who was nude in the movie.

Question about Monet’s plans for the future:

Monet Mazur: I am trying to get rights to a certain story, produce it and star in it.

Many thanks to Stephen Woolley and Monet Mazur for talking to www.newyorkcool.com.

For more information about the movie itself, see the New York Cool review.
You can also view the trailer at: http://www.screenmediafilms.net/stoned/stonedTrailer.mov.

Stoned
has a really cool soundtrack which was released CD by Milan Records on March 14, 2006




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