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10 Times Celebrities Hated Their Biopics

Stories told in biographical movies are not always approved of or historically accurate, and have led to lawsuits and name-calling.

Naturi Naughton on portraying Lil' Kim

Some will never agree with the way they are portrayed in a film and will go to any extent to prove their anger. In some cases, it's difficult for the actor to conform to their character's morality and behavior. More often than not, the telling of a life story on film only spawns more stories.

It's easy to watch a biopic and assume that it's historically accurate. It's even easier to think the people portrayed in the biopic get along with the actors who played them and vice versa. When it comes to telling the story of one’s life, more often than not, the person who lived the story wants to deliver it. They also want to approve others to tell the story and often received compensation for doing so. How actors receive a biopic based on their life is often just as entertaining as the film.

1. 'Blond Ambition' Biopic on Madonna

Madonna has expressed that she is less than excited about the upcoming biopic titled, Blond Ambition. This debut script for Elyse Hollander centers around a pop star who hasn’t given the nod of approval. The biopic will center around her difficulties creating her first album in New York. Madonna expressed her lack of enthusiasm about the film on Instagram. She stated that she is the only person who could tell her story, referring to people who try as a “charlatan and a fool.”

The iconic star says that no one knows what she knows or what she has seen. She continued to say that instant gratification without the work is a disease in society. Despite Madonna’s dissatisfaction, the Universal Studios has picked up the movie. The film was on the 2016 Black List, a list of the best-unproduced screenplays in Hollywood. 

Universal picked up Hollander’s script telling the story of Madonna’s life in the early 1980s. Madonna initially began her music career in a rock band but later switched to pop and dance music. The movie will feature events that took place around her debut album release. Madonna is confused as to why Universal would allow the script to be written and produced. According to the pop star, the script is all lies. The singer has an issue with the interview inaccuracies. 

According to the script, she was interviewed on American Bandstand and brags to Dick Clark that she is a high school dropout from Detroit. In reality, she graduated from high school a semester early. She also earned a full scholarship to the University of Michigan. It may be easy to see why Madonna would take issue with a biopic that doesn’t describe her background factually.

2. Lil' Kim in 'Notorious'

Naturi Naughton did not reach out to Lil' Kim before accepting the role according to Lil' Kim. The legendary rapper's issue is not just with Naughton not reaching out, but with the screenwriters as well. According to the rapper, they never reached out to her regarding her portrayal in the movie. The rap icon stated in an interview that she would have appreciated being asked to “bless” the film. Naturi Naughton’s role playing Lil' Kim has been a long-running issue with Lil' Kim. The rapper still speaks about the role and has told Wendy Williams that she purposely stayed away from the actress at the Hip Hop Honors in 2016.

The mother of Biggie Smalls, Voletta Wallace claims that Lil' Kim did not like Naughton’s portrayal simply because of her darker skin tone. It doesn’t help that the rapper has gone on record saying that she has low self-esteem. Lil' Kim states that the issue lies in the fact that Naughton looks nothing like Lil' Kim used to look during that time. Lil' Kim said Naughton's on-screen portrayal was “dreadful,” calling Naughton “tasteless and talentless.”

The rapper made a phone call to Diddy to express her disdain for the movie. Diddy responded that Biggie truly respected Lil' Kim as an MC. He went on to explain that all the “other stuff” in the film as a part of the movie. Diddy admits that viewers should not believe what they saw in the movie. He clarified that viewers should only pay attention to the role of Biggie Smalls and no other characters. Diddy stated that Lil Kim would eventually have her movie and a chance to tell her story.

"She never made the initiative to even try to come to me and say, 'Look Kim, I need your blessings for this."

Enough shade to stand in?

3. Mark Schultz in 'Foxcatcher'

Foxcatcher is the biopic of Mark Schultz, an Olympian and world champion wrestler. Initially, Schultz loved the idea of the movie. However, once film critics released their opinion of the film, he began to feel differently. Schultz tweeted that he wasn’t going to sit back and “watch you destroy my name and the reputation I sweat blood for?” referring to the film director, Bennett Miller. 

He also tweeted that he hated his portrayal in the movie. Schultz was a consultant on the film set but didn’t make final decisions. He felt that the movie depicted him as emotionally fragile when in reality you have to emotionally strong to become an Olympic champion. He stated in an interview that he was uncomfortable watching his character do things he has never done. Schultz was very vocal about the scenes he felt depicted him as a homosexual. 

He commented about the film director, “I want that guy’s head on a platter!” Schultz admitted to calling Miller, threatening to kill him because of a scene that insinuates that Schultz had a sexual relationship with his trainer, John du Pont. Two weeks later, Schultz returned to being in favor of the movie. He apologized, calling himself temporarily insane and returned to loving the movie and its director once more, saying that Miller was one of the greatest directors.

4. Emma Watson in 'Bling Ring'

Alexis Neiers considers the majority of her biopic to be false. Emma Watson also took issues with playing the role. Alexis Neiers is a TV personality known for her membership in the Bling Ring which leads to her conviction. 

Neiers still denies that she was ever involved in the Bling Ring crimes. However, she admits to targeting celebrity households during her interview with Vice. Alexis Neiers was the star of reality show Pretty Wild where she admits to sharing a $10,000 per week drug habit with her sister Gabby. 

Emma Watson said she found it difficult to play Neiers and that she found it weird to “live her” for several weeks. She said she had to work to “understand the psychology as much as she possibly could.” Watson also admitted to being judgmental going into the film initially, stating it was difficult to keep the role from being a parody or not real. Watson stated that she watched The Kardashians and The Hills in preparing for the role.

5. The Real “Nancy Botwin” from 'Weeds,' Dr. Dina

Dr. Dina is the first woman to start a doctor’s office with a focus on medical marijuana in California. Her location opened long before the show Weeds aired. Dr. Dina wrote a script about her life, which she allowed one of her patients to read. The patient advised Dr. Dina that they were in the film industry and they would like to read it and make notes.

Dr. Dina stated that about two months later, the show Weeds began to air. On top of the many similarities to her life, a billboard for the show was posted right above her shop on April Fool’s Day. Dr. Dina has Snoop Dogg as a client, and she called him accusing of putting the sign up as an April Fool’s joke. Snoop Dogg confirmed that he wasn’t playing a joke on her. Snoop also gave her the nicknames Dr. Dina and Chubby. Dr. Dina stated that after the posting of the show's billboard, she was largely confused with actress Mary Louise Parker on Weeds by her patients.

Dina was afraid that if she sued the producers, she would be pursued by the federal government for the crimes of fictional Nancy Botwin. Additionally, she was advised by her lawyer not to mention the “coincidences” to anyone. Snoop visited Dina as a client while being interviewed by GQ magazine’s Drew Magary. 

During his interview, Snoop asked Drew if he knew that Dr. Dina was the real Nancy Botwin. As a result of the show’s publicity, Dina gained notoriety as an alternative medicine provider in West Hollywood. She owns Alternative Herbal Health Services and has helped more than 36 dispensaries in California, Oregon, and Colorado.

6. Frank Abagnale Jr. in 'Catch Me if You Can'

Frank Abagnale Jr. was one of the youngest people ever placed on the FBI’s ten most wanted list for impersonating pilots, doctors, and lawyers. Abagnale Jr. also successfully forged $2.5 million in bad checks before he reached the age of 21. Johnny Carson prompted Frank Abagnale Jr. and co-writer Stan Redding to write a memoir which became a movie 22 years later. Redding interviewed Abagnale, but Abagnale felt that Redding “overdramatized” his answers.

Abagnale Jr. published on his website that the film would contain exaggerations naturally because the memoir did as well. Catch Me if You Can tells the story of Frank Abagnale Jr. but suffers from historical accuracy problems. Abagnale Jr. says there are exaggerated points in the film, such as the fact that Frank never regained a relationship with his father in real life as the movie implies. 

In fact, he never saw him again, which conflicts with the ending of the biopic. Abagnale Jr. says he never wanted a cameo in the movie, although he does make an appearance. Abagnale Jr. Warned on his website that the film would contain exaggerations because the book does. He stated that Stan Redding was focused on telling a story and not writing a biography.

7. Jordan Belfort in 'The Wolf of Wall Street'

Initially, Belfort supported the film made to tell a part of his life story. Jordan Belfort and Leonardo DiCaprio spent hundreds of hours interacting in preparation for the film. Belfort even did drugs at DiCaprio’s house to show what his life was like by “going through the stages” and letting DiCaprio film. However, once the film was released, the ex-stockbroker felt differently. Belfort stated in an interview with Piers Morgan that viewing the screening was shocking, leaving him and his fiancee speechless.

Belfort released the statement that attacking his wife at the end of the film was fictionalized. The film has Belfort punch his wife in the stomach. He stated that in real life his wife grabbed his leg and he kicked away. Belfort called the film producers “f****** criminals.” The production company spent $3 million on a launch party for the film, and this was Belfort’s reason for the remarks. 

Red Granite also offered Belfort $500,000 to attend a star-studded event in Las Vegas with stars of the film, which he declined. Ironically, Belfort profited at least $1 million from the sale of his life story while still owing $110.4 million to victims. He was ordered to pay this amount per his 2003 sentencing.

Belfort released a statement that “anyone who does this is has stolen money.” One of the previous associates of the real Jordan Belfort, Andrew Greene, is suing Paramount Pictures for $15 million for his criminal portrayal in The Wolf of Wall Street. Greene claimed defamation to a judge regarding the film, but the claims did not get accepted. Belfort stated in an E! Interview that he cut ties with the firm after his infamous speech to employees. In the film, he remains at the firm. 

Belfort feels that the movie portrayed him as someone who was ripping people off; he stated in an interview that this was “wildly inaccurate.” However, Belfort admits that having hookers in his office was true. Belfort also added that the film didn’t get his drug preference precisely correct.

8. Bob Dylan in 'I’m Not There'

“These so-called connoisseurs of Bob Dylan music, I don’t feel they know a thing or have any inkling of who I am or what I’m about,” Dylan himself told an interviewer in 2012. The movie based on Bob Dylan’s life, I’m Not There, has accuracy issues. One significant difference that the film has with real life is Dylan’s 1966 motorcycle accident. The film inaccurately portrays the crash as fatal. Another inaccuracy is Dylan becoming a preacher. The director of Bob Dylan’s biopic, Todd Haynes, has never met Bob Dylan. However, he wrote a one page summary of the film concept, of which Dylan approved.

Heath Ledger, one of six actors who played Dylan, stated that he didn’t want to Dylan’s portrayal to be categorized or put in a box. Regarding the film, Heath Ledger stated, “Biopics kind of annoy me sometimes. It's really hard not to defame someone when you're doing a biopic.” 

Ledger also said that he wanted to “preserve Dylan’s mystique as opposed to exploit it.” The actor admitted that he didn’t know much about Bob Dylan until the movie. When asked by MTV if he would ask Dylan what he thought of the movie, he said he would “run in the other direction for sure.” He continued by saying that there are some people admires greatly but doesn’t wish to meet them in his lifetime, Dylan is “best left in the shadows for me.” 

Dylan also disagrees with his depiction in Factory Girl. The film depicts his affair with fashion legend Edie Sedgewick. He feels that the movie blames their relationship and breakup as the cause of Sedgewick’s suicide. Dylan’s lawyer got involved in the matter, saying that film producers were not free from being sued because of the use of Dylan’s name.

9. Mark Zuckerberg in 'The Social Network'

Zuckerberg is yet another well-known individual who lacks appreciation of the telling of his story on film. Zuckerberg would have preferred for the movie not to exist. The producer of the movie Aaron Sorkin admitted he would not have wanted a movie about his life made when he was 19. 

The CEO of Sony Pictures said that "No person would want their sophomore year examined or portrayed.” When asked what the biggest difference was between the movie and what actually happened, he replied with, “Where do I start?” He found it interesting that filmmakers got it right when it came to his style of clothing and office design while getting basic facts mostly wrong. 

In a Q&A session, the billionaire opened up about his thoughts on the movie. When asked by an audience member about how accurate the film actually was, Zuckerberg stated that he found the movie hurtful and that he has blocked the movie from his thinking. In his own words, “writing code isn’t a glamorous enough thing to make a movie about” so, the film producers embellished some details. The social media mogul says he’s never met the writer of the movie or many of the people who were involved in the film. According to the founder of Facebook, film producers simply “made up a lot of stuff.”

Throughout the film, there was a theme of intimate relationships which Zuckerberg says is inaccurate. Zuckerberg says that the most interesting facet of the film is that he created Facebook to “get girls.” The film began with a fictional girl who dumped him. He clarified that he was in a relationship with his now-wife, Priscilla Chan, before he started building Facebook. 

Zuckerberg went on to correct the record by saying that the purpose of Facebook was not to attract women or gain entry to an institution. He stated that his real reason for building Facebook was because he actually enjoys the building process, saying this was hard for some people behind the film to understand.

10. Michael Oher in 'The Blind Side'

Michael Oher directly stated in an interview that people who watch The Blind Side would not have a chance to get to know him. Oher, the Baltimore Ravens' starting right tackle, has a big issue with the film’s illustration of his rise to pro football. He said the way the movie depicted his youth struggle was wrong. Oher went on to say that he only cares if the people close to him know him well. Because of the release of the film The Blind Side, Michael Oher said he doesn’t mess with Hollywood and prefers to stick to football.

His problem isn’t with the poverty that the movie portrays, but that the movie made him look as though he “didn’t know anything.” Oher got a chance to meet the man who played him on screen, Quinton Aaron, after the film’s release. Although, Oher never received any monetary compensation for the telling of his story. 

Oher’s teammate, Matt Birk, has admitted that the movie has made Oher the butt of many jokes. Birk said that talking about the movie was the “easiest joke in the world.” Oher believes that the film has hurt his career and he’s tired of the movie. He felt that the film might place larger than life expectations on his football career.

Time passed, and in 2016, he began to feel differently. Oher and his family formed a different opinion of the movie. He said in an interview that the story is great and has inspired many people. As a result, Oher has received a large number of letters from fans and people who have chosen to adopt.

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