A Michael Jackson impersonator (Diego Luna) visits a commune where residents (Samantha Morton, Denis Lavant) imitate Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, The Three Stooges and others.
Mister Lonely is a 2007 British-French-Irish-American comedy-drama film directed by Harmony Korine and co-written with his brother Avi Korine. The film features an ensemble cast of well-known foreign actors, including Diego Luna, Samantha Morton, Denis Lavant, Werner Herzog, James Fox, Anita Pallenberg and Leos Carax.
In Paris, a young American who works as a Michael Jackson lookalike meets Marilyn Monroe, who invites him to her commune in Scotland, where she lives with Charlie Chaplin and her daughter, Shirley Temple.
A young man living in Paris scratches out a living as a Michael Jackson look-alike, dancing on the streets, public parks, tourist spots and trade shows. During a show in an old peoples home, he meets Marilyn Monroe. Haunted by her angelic beauty, he follows her to a commune in the Scottish Highlands, joining her husband Charlie Chaplin, and her daughter Shirley Temple. Here, the Pope, the Queen, Madonna, James Dean, and other impersonators build a stage in the hope that the world will visit and watch them perform.
A subplot concerns a convent of nuns, in what seems to be a developing country. One of the nuns survives a fall from an airplane during a mission to deliver food to villages, and discovers that if you are true of heart, God will protect you. All the nuns then begin jumping from planes to show they are true of heart and protected by God.Diego Luna as Michael JacksonSamantha Morton as Marilyn MonroeDenis Lavant as Charlie ChaplinWerner Herzog as Father UmbrilloJames Fox as The PopeAnita Pallenberg as The QueenMelita Morgan as MadonnaJason Pennycook as Sammy Davis, Jr.Esme Creed-Miles as Shirley TempleLeos Carax as RenardBritta Gartner as NunAlisa Grace Greaves as Autograph girlQuentin Grosset as Le Petit GarconRachel Korine as Little Red Riding HoodJoseph Morgan as James DeanRichard Strange as Abraham LincolnDaniel Rovai, Mal Whiteley, and Nigel Cooper as The Three Stooges: Moe Howard, Larry Fine, and Curly HowardMichael-Joel Stuart as BuckwheatAngel Morgan as Various roles
Korine conceived of a film about impersonators as a way to explore what he called "the obsessive nature" of the impersonator personality. Rather than mocking or belittling impersonation, Korine claims to have felt a "fondness and empathy" for impersonators since childhood.
Korine came up with the idea for the film after the release of Julien Donkey-Boy, but his drug use and general disillusionment (along with fund-raising difficulties) prolonged the process. In a February 2007 interview with Screen International, he said: "Id been making movies since I was virtually a kid, and it had always come very easily. At a certain point after the last movie, I started to have this general disconnect from things. I was really miserable with where I was. I began to lose sight of things and people started to become more and more distant. I was burnt out, movies were what I always loved in life and I started to not care. I went deeper and deeper into a dark place and to be honest movies were the last thing I was thinking about – I didnt know if I was going to be alive. My dream was to evaporate. I was unhealthy. Whatever happened during that time, and I wont go into the details, maybe it was something I needed to go through." In a 2003 interview with the New York Post, former girlfriend Chloe Sevigny revealed that the formerly straight edge Korine had become addicted to heroin and methadone while they were together, with Korines substance abuse issues contributing to the end of their relationship.
Richard Strange, who plays Abraham Lincoln, claimed that Korine often changed scenes and lines as filming progressed.
While shooting the commune scenes, the cast and crew lived together in a Scottish castle, and many of the actors remained in their impersonated characters for all or part of the time they were off-camera. Actor Denis Lavant even bathed with his shoes on, as his impersonated character Charlie Chaplin was said to do.
To film the secondary storyline, Korine worked with real skydiving nuns from Spain, sometimes in temperatures of 48 °C (120 °F).
Half of the music was written and performed by Sun City Girls, with the other half being created by Spiritualized frontman, Jason "Spaceman" Pierce.
- "Michaels Opening" (dialogue)
- Spank Rock – "Backyard Betty"
- Jason Spaceman – "Blues 1"
- Jason Spaceman – "Blues 2 (Intro)"
- Sun City Girls – "3D Girls"
- Jason Spaceman – "Panama 1"
- Sun City Girls – "Spook"
- Jason Spaceman – "Garden Walk"
- Sun City Girls – "Steppe Spiritual"
- Jason Spaceman – "Pope in the Bath"
- Daniel Rovai – "Red River Valley"
- "Nuns Prayer" (dialogue)
- Sun City Girls – "Mr. Lonely Viola"
- Sun City Girls – "Beryl Scepter"
- "Red Riding Hoods Hangman" (dialogue)
- Jason Spaceman – "Stooges Harmonica"
- "Father Umbrillos Broken Nation"
- Jason Spaceman – "Musicbox Underwater"
- Sun City Girls – "Circus Theme"
- Sun City Girls – "Vine Street Piano"
- Jason Spaceman – "Paris Beach"
- Sun City Girls – "Farewell"
- Angel Morgan – "Gold Dust"
- Aphex Twin – "Btoum-Roumada"
Rory OShea Was Here (2004). My Old Lady (2014). Leos Carax appears in Mr Lonely and directed Holy Motors. Samantha Morton appears in Mr Lonely and Expired. Diego Luna appears in Mr Lonely and Y Tu Mama Tambien.
Korines largest film to date with a budget of $8.2 million, Mister Lonely earned $386,915 in its first nine months — $167,396 in the United States and $219,519 in other territories.
The film received mixed to negative reviews. Rotten Tomatoes reports that the film maintains a 46% approval, with one reviewer commenting, "Less biting or offensive than Korines earlier works, this frustratingly dull film still maintains the directors trademark odd beauty."