-- After premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City earlier this month, the new Alice Cooper documentary Super Duper Alice Cooper will be given one-night-only screenings at select U.S. theaters starting this evening. The movie tells the dramatic story of how Cooper, who was born Vincent Furnier and raised in a religious household, developed his outrageous stage persona, became a rock superstar and battled serious alcohol and drug addictions that nearly killed him.
The movie, which was co-directed by Canadian filmmakers Scot McFadyen, Sam Dunn and Reg Harkema, is being billed as the first-ever "doc opera." Speaking recently with ABC News Radio, McFadyen explained that Super Duper Alice Cooper is "a visual montage of film footage and animated photographs and movie clips, just all mashed together with basically a radio play behind it of people telling the story in the moment as it happened."
One of the recurring devices that the directors used was the inclusion of clips from the 1920 version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to reflect the struggle Cooper had separating life off stage from his onstage persona. Harkema told ABC News Radio that the filmmakers got the idea from an archival interview with Alice in which the rocker brought up the Jekyll and Hyde characters to help describe his dilemma.
"That just started getting us thinking, 'That's a great metaphor that we can use to kind of be a chapter thing throughout the film,'" noted Harkema. He added that he, McFadyen and Dunn also were inspired by the 2000 Sex Pistols documentary The Filth and the Fury, which similarly used clips from Laurence Olivier's 1955 film adaptation of Shakespeare's Richard III.
Dunn, meanwhile, pointed out that outside of chronicling Cooper's battle with substance abuse, the movie also tells a liberating tale of an artist who blazed a unique artistic path.
"Here wasn't another artist celebrating the Flower Power moment or rebelling against Vietnam at that time," noted the director. "He was just sort of saying, 'Well, eff you to all of that. Let's just create a horror show for people to enjoy for 60 or 90 minutes a night.'"
Dunn said that one of the challenges in making the documentary was to motivate Cooper to take an honest and deep look into his past. The filmmaker added that one of the fascinating things he and his collaborators discovered was how Cooper and his childhood friend and founding Alice Cooper bassist Dennis Dunaway shared a mutual love of The Beatles and surreal painters such as Salvador Dali.
"We were just sort of like, 'That makes a lot of sense,' because there's a real pop sensibility to a lot of Alice's songs," Dunn told ABC News Radio, "and yet, obviously, there's guillotines and chopping baby dolls and snakes, also."
The Super Duper Alice Cooper screenings will include a special pre-taped video in which the shock rocker answers a series of fan-submitted questions. Most of the screenings will take place tonight and on Thursday, but many others are scheduled on various other dates. For a full list of theaters and dates, visit SuperDuperAliceCooper.com.
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