Mick Jagger is not only the magnetic leader of one of the most iconic rock bands of all time – for a while, he was also a fairly prolific actor.
From the late ’60s until the early 2000s, the Rolling Stones singer appeared in roughly a dozen feature films and TV shows, including the 1970 gangster drama “Performance,” 1980s children’s series “Faerie Tale Theatre,” and 1992 sci-fi thriller “Freejack.” But after a starring role in 2001’s “The Man from Elysian Fields” with Anjelica Huston, he curiously stepped away from acting for nearly two decades.
It wasn’t for a lack of offers, he tells USA TODAY.
Rather, it came down to “laziness and not getting a decent script,” Jagger says with a laugh. “I would like to have done a lot more, but it’s a funny world, film. You don’t get that many interesting things; you get a lot of rubbish offered to you that you might do if that was the only job. But I have other things to do.”
That changed in late 2018 when he met director Giuseppe Capotondi about “The Burnt Orange Heresy” (in theaters Friday nationwide). Based on Charles Willeford’s 1971 noir novel, the thriller follows a washed-up art critic named James Figueras (Claes Bang) who travels to the sumptuous Italian villa of greedy art collector Joseph Cassidy (Jagger). There, Cassidy offers Figueras the opportunity to interview a reclusive artist (Donald Sutherland), but on one condition: Figueras must steal a painting for him.
Capotondi heard that Jagger was looking to return to acting and sent him the script, after which, they met at the rocker’s office in London.
“I was very nervous about the idea of meeting Mick Jagger, but the moment I got into his office he was very approachable and super sweet,” Capotondi says. “When we started shooting, it was just like any other actor – it wasn’t like Mick Jagger, the rock star. He’s very professional and was always saying, ‘Can I do one more (take)?’ or ‘Was that alright?’ “
Jagger, 76, agreed to meet with Capotondi after watching his 2009 Italian drama “The Double Hour” and reading the script for “Burnt Orange Heresy.” Despite only appearing in two scenes, he was intrigued by the idea of Figueras making a deal with the devil.
“I thought, ‘I can do something with this,’ even though there’s not a lot of screen time,” Jagger says. His character “threatens and cajoles (Figueras) into doing something to get what he wants, which is a picture. He’s a very manipulative person and does it for his own collecting habits.”
Jagger says he turned down many movies in the ’60s, just as the Rolling Stones were blowing up in the U.S. with hits like “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”, “Honky Tonk Women” and “Paint It, Black.” Despite popular rumor, he never auditioned for Tim Curry’s role in 1975’s “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” but does confirm he was attached to a failed adaptation of “Dune” by Alejandro Jodorowsky in the mid-’70s, years before David Lynch made his version in 1984.
Most regrettably, “I remember I wanted to be in ‘A Clockwork Orange,’ because I loved that book,” Jagger says. “I never auditioned – I vaguely knew (director) Stanley Kubrick but he didn’t cast me.”
Outside of “Burnt Orange Heresy,” Jagger says he hasn’t seen many movies recently: When he spoke to USA TODAY in early March, the last film he had seen in a theater was “1917,” which “I quite liked” and “was very well-made and acted.” He was also getting ready for another leg of the Rolling Stones’ No Filter tour, which was set to kick off in May but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The band was forced to reschedule a string of U.S. concerts last summer so Jagger could undergo heart surgery, although the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer maintains it was a quick recovery.
“I was fine after that,” Jagger says. “It was really easy to get over, to be honest. It was really quite simple, I did the tour and I felt fine. So now I’m looking forward to the next one.”