Pacino steps into Spector’s shoes
MUCH to his surprise, Al Pacino (pictured) learned that once upon a time he met the legendary music producer Phil Spector, whom he now plays in a new TV film. He had no memory of it, ‘‘but somebody showed me a picture of me and him on the internet’’, Pacino laughs. ‘‘It was at some event or party, and we’re both looking into the camera, two guys who do not want to be photographed. Since he had mostly worked behind the scenes, I didn’t know who he was, and he looked like he didn’t know who I was.’’ That was then, whenever that was. This forgotten encounter serves Pacino as a fitting first step into the character he captures for Phil Spector, a new telemovie that debuts on payTV channel showcase this weekend. Written and directed by David Mamet, this penetrating film explores the preparation for Spector’s murder defence: As the story begins in 2007, he stands accused of having forced a pistol into the mouth of a woman – his date for the night – and pulling the trigger. The difficulties of the case seem beyond the wherewithal of Spector’s original lawyer (Jeffrey Tambor), who has brought in hotshot lawyer Linda Kenney Baden (Helen Mirren). She takes over as lead lawyer and joins Spector in a verbal pas de deux: ‘‘Why do you have so many guns?’’ she asks. ‘‘I might need one,’’ he replies. ‘‘Why would you need more than one?’’ she asks. ‘‘How many shoes do you have?’’ he poses. He’s a problem for his lawyers. He says he didn’t kill the girl, but who’s going to believe him?
– FRAZIER MOORE Phil Spector: Saturday, 7.30pm, Showcase.