Brett Morgen - Crossfire Hurricane Filmmaker Almost Directed Bill Wyman's Hidden Rolling Stones Story
Brett Morgen, the director of acclaimed new Rolling Stones documentary Crossfire Hurricane, almost found himself making a very different film about the band using former member Bill Wyman's treasured home video footage.
While researching the latest Stones movie, the moviemaker got in touch with former bass player Wyman and learned the rocker had a trove of footage on the group he shot himself throughout the 1960s and 1970s, which he almost handed over to Morgen for another project.
The director tells Wenn, "When I first met Bill, he had mentioned to me, prior to me doing this film, he was going to reach out to me about doing something with his archive because Bill was a fan of my documentary on Robert Evans, The Kid Stays in the Picture, as was Mick (Jagger).
"Bill was helpful with getting us newspaper archives and things like that, but the one thing that Bill wanted to hold on to was his 16mm footage of the band that he shot himself. I was desperate to get my hands on it but I wasn't able to pry it from Bill. Nor would he show me clips. He'd tease me about it.
"Bill is holding onto it now and it's something that he wants to leave for his children, and God bless him. I really loved every moment I had with Bill; he has an encyclopedic knowledge and he is like a fan, an informer. He was incredibly helpful with his perspective. I was thrilled to be able to work with him. I don't think we could have told the story without Bill."
And now Morgen has little interest in revisiting the Rolling Stones, so it's beginning to look like fans will have to wait until after Wyman's death to see his home video footage: "It would be very strange for me to go back and do another movie on the Stones. I feel like I've done my Rolling Stones story."
But the filmmaker is urging others to pick up where he left off, insisting there's a fascinating documentary to be made about the life and death of Brian Jones.
He adds, "I think there's much more to Brian Jones' story... The interviews I had with the band, we could have done an entire film just on Brian that would have been revealing and illuminating.
"It was a great challenge to distill the Brian Jones story and not... In my first cut of the film, the '60s were almost entirely wrapped around Brian Jones, probably a little too much."