Author Robert Sellers tells how George Harrison's independent film company HandMade Films produced a string of films and a few classics and how Madonna and Sean Penn figured in its demise in a new book, “Very Naughty Boys: The Amazing True Story of Handmade Films,” due out Sept. 24 in the U.S.
The author says the company used elements rarely found in the movie business – creative freedom and financial clout – to produce films including “Monty Python's Life of Brian,” “Nuns on the Run,” “Water,” “Time Bandits,” “Withnail and I” and “Shanghai Surprise.”
It was “Life of Brian” that started the whole thing when Harrison offered to bankroll the film. He hooked up with Denis O'Brien, who he hired as his business manager, and HandMade Films was born.
It was the infamous problems with “Shanghai Surprise” that led to Harrison picking up smoking again and was also the beginning of a downturn for the company, according to his friend, musician Ray Cooper. Harrison had to personally intervene because of the film's highly volatile stars Madonna and Sean Penn, who were, at the time, married. “It was never to be the same again,” Sellers writes.
The book features exclusive interviews with Monty Python members John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin, who also wrote the foreward. Others interviewed include Sean Connery and Robbie Coltrane.
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