Jonas Ball as Mark David Chapman in The Killing of John Lennon.
The Killing of John Lennon premiered this week at Edinburgh International Film Festival. Written and directed by Andrew Piddington, and shot over the past three years, in Hawaii, Decatur, Georgia, and New York, the movie is described as a meditation on the relationship between celebrities and their public, as well as a look into the mind of Lennon’s killer. Shot on a $500,000 budget, and starring Jonas Ball as Mark David Chapman, the film takes Chapman from his dead-end job as a security guard in Hawaii to the aftermath of the murder, with the assassin in solitary confinement in Attica prison.
“I wanted the film to be controversial,” says Piddington, who has directed two other features, Shuttlecock (1991) and The Fall (1999). “I wanted it hard, realistic, and unflinching in its presentation of the truth.”
Unlike Chapter 27, The Killing of John Lennon takes no fictional liberties. According to the director, nothing was made up and there are no invented characters. All of Chapman’s dialogue is based on his journals and statements he made to the police and psychiatrists. All of the voiceovers are based on interviews, depositions, and court transcripts.
The murder itself is presented realistically, Piddington says. “We see Lennon being shot. We see blood exploding from his body. We see Lennon’s last gasping breath as he hits the tiled floor. We hear the crunch of his bones as he’s being lifted and carried to the cop car.”
In a deliberate nod to Taxi Driver, the final image is Chapman standing naked to the waist, finger pointed to his head like a gun, just like Travis Bickle.
No information is available at this time when the film is coming to America.