There’s been a spate of big, campy music biopics in the last few years, including films about Queen (Bohemian Rhapsody), Elton John (Rocketman), Mötley Crüe (The Dirt) and even one about that band of freakish Doctor Moreau rejects whose screams haunt my nightmares (Cats).
Back in 1991, however, music biopics could be altogether darker and druggier affairs. Oliver Stone’s The Doors portrayed frontman Jim Morrison as a death-obsessed shaman who wandered the Sunset Strip spouting lines like: “What’s a band for? Let’s plan a murder or start a religion” or “I don’t remember being born, it must have happened during one of my blackouts”. It also featured a memorable desert acid trip sequence that would be lovingly satirised in Wayne’s World 2 (“I have to ask, didn’t you think it was a trifle unnecessary to see the crack in the Indian’s bottom?”).
Now that music films are back in vogue, the film has been given a shiny new 4K polish and is being re-released today. To mark the occasion, we headed to Oliver Stone’s Hollywood office to see if he’d let us touch one of his three (three!) Oscars (Best Adapted Screenplay for 1979’s Midnight Express, Best Director for both 1987’s Platoon and 1990’s Born on the Fourth of July). When that failed, we settled for talking to him about how Val Kilmer managed to rack up a $20,000 massage bill on the set of The Doors, the best place to score acid in Sydney in 1968, and why Madonna’s lack of acting chops led him to walk away from Evita.