Wendy R. Williams Talks
Stephen Woolley and Monet Mazur
Stoned Press Roundtable
Monday March 13, 2006
Opia Restaurant – New York City
March 24, 2006
Monet Mazur and Leo Gregory
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
with Stephen Woolley
Photo Credit Wendy R. Williams
Question about the casting:
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:
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
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?
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:
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:
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?
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
Question about the full frontal
nudity in the film:
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:
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:
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
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
with 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
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
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
about what were her favorite Stones songs:
Monet Mazur: Angie
(reportedly inspired by Anita Pallenberg) and
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:
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:
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