Jan 13

Let’s Be Frank

Do You See13 comments • 787 views

So the first picture of Michael Fassbender as Frank Sidebottom have appeared on the internet, and the internet is all a kerfuffle. It doesn’t look – right – they say. The eyes aren’t round, the eyebrows have been shifted from Sievey’s perma-surprise to a more reflective, even pair of brows. And real-Frank was more dapper than this movie-Frank. The body language is all off too (but this may not be a film take). Just wait til we hear his voice, possible drifting from the Irish-German lilts that are the Scylla and Charybdis of all of Fassbender’s vocal performances.

But hold on a minute. Do we want this Frank to look just like the real Frank? This is not a case of impersonation, Fassbender is playing a role. A role in a film about which Jon Ronson , one of the writers, says : “The film isn’t a film about Frank Sidebottom. It’s totally made up and – whilst inspired by Frank – is inspired by other people too” Other people who took to the stage with papier mache heads, it was a big scene in the mid-eighties…

But if you think of it as a role, the subtle differences in this head to real-Frank’s head start to make more sense. If the other actors, if anyone is playing a real character, they will not be able to physically replicate them. This head must be a choice, its not as if the producers would have found it difficult to replicate Sievey’s original model. If it is a mistake that a costume design/art director is out of a job. So it must be intentional. And perhpas it is. I remember seeing Walk The Line and thinking at the end what a great job Joaquin Phoenix did as Johnny Cash. He didn’t look remotely like Cash. Or indeed sound much like him. So why hire Michael Fassbender if you are just going to put him in a perfect replica of Sidebottom’s head. Where is the acting in that? Oval eyes…that’s acting.


  1. 1
    wichita lineman on 10 Jan 2013 #

    Pardon my dumbness but… what’s the film? A Sidebottom biopic??

  2. 2
    Pete Baran on 10 Jan 2013 #

    Its called Frank, and is described in its press release thusly:

    Frank is a comedy about a young wannabe musician, Jon (Dominic Gleeson), who discovers he’s bitten off more than he can chew when he joins a band of eccentric pop musicians led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank (Michael Fassbender) and his terrifying sidekick Clara (Maggie Gyllenhaal).

    It appears to be loosely based on a memoir by Jon Ronson (who was once in a Sievey back-up band) but they keep saying its not strictly about Frank Sidebottom, rather it uses some aspects of Frank.


  3. 3


  4. 4
    Steve Mannion on 10 Jan 2013 #

    Maybe the pic is from a scene depicting Frank’s early days when he was still trying to get the look of the head right. I wish it had just shifted gradually over the years from the left to the right without anyone really noticing. A bit like when you look at the differences in Michael Jackson’s face in 1992 and then 2002, let alone before that.

    Around a decade ago there were rumours Frank was considering even larger eyes, or to simply stride the town as a besuited cyclops.

  5. 5
    tm on 10 Jan 2013 #

    It looks like his head if you let ad-men design it to be less terrifying. I once did a stand-up gig with Frank (and hundreds of others – it was a 24hr gig for Red Nose Day), top bloke.

  6. 6
    tm on 10 Jan 2013 #

    Actually, it looks way more terrifying than the real Frank.

  7. 7
    thefatgit on 10 Jan 2013 #

    This isn’t getting Michael Fassbender any closer to the role he was born to play, ie. Lawrence Of Arabia. Somebody PLEASE reboot LOA, PLEASE!!!

  8. 9
    Ed on 11 Jan 2013 #

    “Michael Fassbender as Frank Sidebottom…” ?? *checks date*

    Mind you, I am quite excited about Kathryn Bigelow directing Jeremy Renner in “I’m Not The Wanderer: The Ted Chippington Story”

  9. 10
    Mark G on 11 Jan 2013 #

    Actually, Frank was a snail in his first incarnation..

  10. 11
    JimD on 11 Jan 2013 #

    How many pictures have been released/leaked? Because I wouldn’t be surprised if this turns out to be a bit of post-modern cleverness where Frank’s expression changes from shot to shot. In fact that might even be pretty great.

  11. 12
    Sabina on 11 Jan 2013 #

    …Is this some sort of cross-cultural thing or should I actually have known who this person was. o_O

  12. 13
    Chelovek na lune on 11 Jan 2013 #

    #12 @Sabina, Frank Sidebottom was certainly a peculiarly English (and for that matter Northern English, and even more so Mancunian) phenomenon.

    As someone who is more Scottish/Ulster Glaswegian and more Southern English/Londoner than he is Northern English, I’d like to think even my limited appreciation of Frank gives me a little bit of an insight into the lives of those who are obligated to spend their time among the dark satanic mills, the pie shore and the Pennines ;)

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