Classic rockers are featuring quite a bit in the plots of movies these days. Last month, ‘Not Fade Away,’ a film about New Jersey teenagers inspired by the Rolling Stones to form a band, opened in theaters. This spring will see the beginning of production on ‘Imagine,’ in which a musician receives a letter of encouragement from John Lennon.
The story is based on the real-life tale of Steve Tilston who, in 1971, was a British musician worried about succumbing to the trappings of fame. Lennon read an interview with the young artist and reached out to Tilston via a letter, which offered advice and encouragement, with his home phone number. Unfortunately, Tilston never received the letter, and had no idea of its existence until 2005, when a collector who purchased the letter tracked down Tilston.
‘Imagine’ takes that premise but, instead of Tilston being a musician whose career never amounted to anything, screenwriter Dan Fogelman created Danny Collins, a rock legend who turned into exactly what Tilston was worried he would become, a decadent rock star content to go through the motions playing the hits in sold-out arenas.
But receiving the letter from Lennon after all those years reminds him of who he once was and decides to turn his life around, both by reconnecting both with his son and his artistic vision.
The move stars Al Pacino as Collins, which probably means lots of scene-chewing tantrums in the movie’s early-going, before he decides to turn his life around. Jeremy Renner plays the estranged son, and Julianne Moore is the manager of the hotel Collins moves into as part of his quest for redemption.