I read this today and my stomach sort of got tied up in knots. This guy is planning on making a movie about John Lennon’s assassin, Mark David Chapman.
Chapman is the man responsible for one of my earliest childhood traumas.
But it’s not like the movie is going to glorify him, how could it? And who knows, perhaps it might even be interesting. But it seems to me that this is something that almost doesn’t need to be explored. I mean it’s pretty much a clear cut case of a fan becoming so obsessive that in his own mind, the only way he could express his adoration was to take the life belonging to the focus of his fanaticism.
But then again, is it? I’ve been doing some reading of transcripts of interviews and parole hearings of Chapman’s and one thing is clear, his actions were absolutely premeditated. In fact, he had made the trip to New York City months earlier to do the same thing, but couldn’t go through with it. As time passed, however, his mind got the better of him and he heard a voice say, “Just do it.”
He claims to have been inspired by J.D. Salinger’s novel, “The Catcher In the Rye.” Holden Caulfield is a character, as described in the link above, that hates phonies. And perhaps Chapman did think that Lennon was a phony, but he was also a documented fan. His belief that Lennon is a phony is, in my mind, a self-serving device used to justify his increasingly obsessive infatuation with the man. I believe it got to the point where he wanted so badly to become part of John Lennon’s world so badly, that it was almost as if he wanted to be him. And since actually becoming him is an impossibility, being the person to end him might be the next best thing.
I don’t know. I can’t decide if I’m indifferent to this or what. One thing it does do is give Chapman another level of fame. It will introduce him to a group of people to whom his name is not known. At the time of the killing, this was one of his motivations. To acheive fame and noteriety. He says as much in his parole hearing.
I guess that by even writing this right now, I’m betraying the emotions within me that think the making of this movie is preposterous. In otherwords, I’m giving him additional face time. But I also haven’t necessarily formed an opinion. I’m curious to know what others think.
The thing about the film is that they’re introducing a fictional teenage, female character that will serve as the conduit that allows the movie-goer to get into his head. I suppose this will help the Chapman character reveal himself more naturally in the film. Frankly, I’m not sure that any screenwriter could get to the bottom of Chapman’s paranoid schitzophrenic tendencies well enough to do a recreation of this. Therefore I think that I’m of the opinion that it should be let go.
There are a lot of messed up people out there who do a lot of messed up things. This one just happened to do it to one of (if not the) biggest icons in the world. John Lennon had a presence that we haven’t seen since. He wasn’t far off when he said that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus. To many people, he was Jesus.
There was an interesting part of the Chapman parole hearing where he talks about whether or not he thinks John Lennon would want him to go free. Chapman said that he thought about this for a long time, but he thinks he would want him to be set free. Chapman pointed out that John Lennon was a liberal and that setting him free would go along with his beliefs. But to his credit, Chapman did say that he himself was a conservative and actually thinks that he has no right to even be alive considering what he did.
I, for one, hope he never gets out. I don’t even necessarily want to lock myself in a cell with him with the intention of causing him harm. What good would that do? He already knows that there’s a world full of people who’d like that opportunity.
I just don’t know if opening this wound by producing a movie about the guy who inflicted pain onto so many through an act so thought out would accomplish anything.
I don’t know. I also feel that this whole post is a little jumbled. It’s always hard for me to write about things that are so close to my heart, know what I mean? For whatever reason, John Lennon was a hero to me. Maybe it’s only because of the dramatic way in which he was killed while I was still so young and impressionable; maybe it’s because of the fact that I used to lay on the sofa in the living room listening to Beatle records and pretend to fall asleep so that my dad would let me lay there until the records were over; maybe it’s because I feel I can relate to him in some unknown way. Who knows.
Sorry for my rant. But I’d love to hear others’ thoughts on this as well.