Rick Bentley

Hollywood Notebook: Martin Scorsese teams with Mick Jagger for HBO show

Mick Jagger attends the premiere of HBO’s new drama series “Vinyl.” Jagger created the series with Martin Scorsese.
Mick Jagger attends the premiere of HBO’s new drama series “Vinyl.” Jagger created the series with Martin Scorsese. Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Mick Jagger is a rock legend. Martin Scorsese is a giant among film directors. Their teamwork for the new HBO series “Vinyl” might seem like an odd pairing.

But Jagger says it’s a better fit than you might expect.

“Oh, God. Marty is like a great connoisseur of music, for a start, and in his movies, I think he’s one of the first people that really used rock ’n’ roll in movies wall to wall,” Jagger says during an interview.

Jagger, Scorsese and Terence Winter created the series, set in 1970s New York. It delves into the world of the sex- and drug-addled music business at the dawn of punk, disco and hip-hop. This world is seen through the eyes of a record label president, Richie Finestra (Bobby Cannavale), who is trying to save his company.

It’s not only Scorsese’s love of music that has made the partnership work. Jagger has long been a fan of the director’s movies.

“We’ve chatted about this project over the years on and off and met about it and everything. So I don’t think we find it very difficult to communicate about it even though it appears that we come from different worlds. I suppose we do, but we meet somewhere in the middle,” Jagger says.

It was Jagger who presented the idea to Scorsese. They originally tried to develop it into a film, but the idea covered so much ground that plan was scrapped and taken to TV. HBO has ordered 10 episodes in the first season and has already agreed to a second season.

Jagger has lived through much of what the show covers. He started out focusing on the music being made by the Rolling Stones, but he eventually had to look at the business side.

“I was really involved because we got really screwed in the ’60s. So I had to become involved as the ’60s went on and it became the ’70s, and I got really involved in record companies and how they worked and who was good, who was bad, who paid who, who screwed who, who ended up with the money,” Jagger says.

The Rolling Stones formed in 1962 and have remained active for more than a half century. The band is scheduled to do a live show in Cuba at the end of March.

Jagger isn’t showing any signs of slowing down, even with adding TV producer to his workload.

Playing Jesus

Cliff Curtis has joined Ted Neely, Jeffrey Hunter, Chris Sarandon, Jim Caviezel, Henry Ian Cusick, Christian Bale, Max von Sydow, Willem Dafoe and Jeremy Sisto as part of the fraternity of actors who have portrayed Jesus.

Curtis takes his turn in recent release “Risen,” a movie that mixes the teachings of the Bible with a fictional story about a Roman Tribune (Joseph Fiennes) investigating the rumors of a resurrection.

It was a bizarre feeling for Curtis when he was offered the part.

“I grew up a very devout Catholic. I was an altar boy, I served Mass seven times a day,” Curtis says. “So Jesus was my first superhero.”

Curtis was so connected to the church, his father thought he would become a priest. Instead, the New Zealand native opted to become an actor. His first role was in “The Piano.”

Since then he’s rolled up a long list of credits, including his current series “Fear the Walking Dead,” which returns to the AMC lineup in April.

After he became an actor, Curtis would often joke that the one role he wanted to play was Jesus.

“I never thought that would happen because I don’t have blue eyes,” Curtis says with a laugh, referring to the practice in the ’40s and ’50s of casting actors who didn’t look like they were from the Middle East.

He calls being cast as Jesus as something “miraculous.”

Curtis worked with “Risen” director, Kevin Reynolds, on the 1994 film “Rapa Nui.”

Reynolds says: “When producer Patrick Aiello suggested Cliff, I immediately sparked to the idea because I know how intense and versatile he can be. Cliff comes from the Robert De Niro school of method acting, so part of his process in ‘Risen’ was to not talk to anyone. By being silent on set, something built up inside Curtis that the Apostle characters really responded to and I think that comes across on screen.”

Curtis and Fiennes avoided eye contact during the four-month-long shoot except when they were working. Even when the film co-stars were in the same room, they would not talk to each other.

Other news

Casting call: Actress/dancer Nicole Scherzinger will play Penny in the ABC production of “Dirty Dancing.” The air date for the three-hour filmed musical event and an adaptation of the 1987 film has not been announced.

Coming soon: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release “Roots: The Complete Original Series” on Blu-ray for the first time on June 7. The eight-part series follows the legacy of Kunta Kinte (LeVar Burton), a young, 18th-century African warrior who is brought to the United States and sold into slavery.

Blast from the past: Nickelodeon has ordered a live-action TV movie inspired by its game show “Legends of the Hidden Temple.” Drawing from the original game show’s premise of kids competing to retrieve artifacts from a mysterious Mayan temple, the new action-adventure TV movie version will follow three siblings who embark on a high-stakes, life-or-death mission.

Rick Bentley: 559-441-6355, @RickBentley1