Twenty-five years after Andy Warhol’s death, his fragile physical presence and his iconhood continue to inspire filmmakers. Following “SNL” regular Bill Hader’s impersonation of him in this year’s “Men in Black 3,” another actor will get a chance to don the white wig and sunglasses in “Conversations With Andy.”
According to Variety, the independent film will be based on the childhood experiences of Ari Palitz of Narrator Entertainment, who will co-produce the film writer-director Rotimi Rainwater.
Set in New York in 1984, the film is about a sixth-grader called Ben (to be played by Ty Simpkins) who is confronted with the possibility of his parents divorcing when he forges a friendship with the artist, then in his mid-fifties. Prompted by Warhol and abetted by his sister (Willow Shields) and best friend (David Mazouz), Ben plans a wedding anniversary party for the folks that he hopes will rescue their marriage.
“I loved the idea of watching the dynamic of an 11-year-old boy who’s unaffected by Warhol’s fame and how Warhol would react to it,” Rainwater told the trade paper. Narrator produced the filmmaker’s debut, “Sugar,” which was the story of a group of homeless kids struggling to survive on the streets of Los Angeles.
IMDb lists 30 films and television programs (including “The Simpsons”) in which Warhol has been portrayed. The best-known performances are by Crispin Glover (“The Doors,” 1991), Jared Harris (“I Shot Andy Warhol,” 1996), David Bowie (“Basquiat,” 1996), and Guy Pearce (“Factory Girl,” 2006), the latter of which featured Sienna Miller as Edie Sedgwick.
Though Bowie’s neurotically indecisive Warhol was the funniest and Harris’s was the least caricature-like, none of them entirely captured the artist’s opacity – that quality of being the lone (and lonely) occupant of far-flung Planet Andy.
“Conversations with Andy” has an impressive kid cast. Simpkins has appeared in “War of the Worlds,” “Insidious,” “Little Children,” and “Revolutionary Road.” Shields was Primrose Everdeen (Katniss’s younger sister) in “The Hunger Games” and will be in the first sequel. Mazouz plays Jake Bohn – the Kiefer Sutherland character’s son, who has the gift of foresight – in the Fox Network’s “Touch."