Jeffrey Wright portrays Basquiat, and David Bowie plays Basquiat's friend and mentor Andy Warhol. Additional cast include Gary Oldman as a thinly-disguised Schnabel, Michael Wincott as the poet and art critic Rene Ricard; Dennis Hopper as Bruno Bischofberger; Parker Posey as gallery owner Mary Boone; Claire Forlani, Courtney Love, Tatum O'Neal and Benicio del Toro in supporting roles as "composite characters".
The film was written by Schnabel and Michael Thomas Holman, who was also credited for story development, with story by Lech J. Majewski and John F. Bowe. Holman, a former member of theatrical rock group The Tubes, had first met Basquiat in 1979 and together that year they founded an experimental, industrial/electronica group called Gray.
2.1 Schnabel's art in film
3 Critical reception
5 See also
7 External links
Jeffrey Wright as Jean-Michel Basquiat
David Bowie as Andy Warhol
Benicio del Toro as Benny Dalmau
Gary Oldman as Albert Milo
Michael Wincott as René Ricard
Claire Forlani as Gina Cardinale
Dennis Hopper as Bruno Bischofberger
Tatum O'Neal as Cynthia Kruger
Courtney Love as Big Pink
Christopher Walken as The Interviewer
Willem Dafoe as the Electrician
Parker Posey as Mary Boone
Rene Rivera as Juan
Sam Rockwell as Thug
Rockets Redglare as Himself
Michael Badalucco as Counterman at Deli
Joseph R. Gannascoli as Guard at hospital
Vincent Gallo as Himself / Party Guest
Schnabel's art in film
As director, Schnabel inserted himself into the film by adding the fictional stand-in character, Albert Milo (Gary Oldman), based on Schnabel. Schnabel also added cameo appearances by his mother, father, and daughter (as Milo's family). Schnabel himself appeared as an extra as a waiter.
Basquiat was the first commercial feature film about a painter made by a painter. The director said:
"I know what it's like to be attacked as an artist. I know what it's like to be judged as an artist. I know what it's like to arrive as an artist and have fame and notoriety. I know what it's like to be accused of things that you never said or did. I know what it's like to be described as a piece of hype. I know what it's like to be appreciated as well as degraded."
Basquiat died in 1988 of mixed-drug toxicity (he had been combining cocaine and heroin, known as "speedballing"). Basquiat's estate would not grant permission for his work to be used in the film. Schnabel and his studio assistant Greg Bogin created paintings "in the style of" Basquiat for the film.
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Basquiat received generally favorable reviews, with a 70% "fresh" rating at review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times awarded the film 3.5/4 stars. Conversely, Janet Maslin in The New York Times called the film "bold, attention-getting and more than a little facile, a stylish-looking film without the connective tissue to give it real depth."
"Directorial Debut Fails as Film, History"; review of Basquiat, by Julian Schnabel, San Francisco Examiner, August 16, 1996.
Similarly, the Los Angeles Examiner said that "Basquiat does not seem interested in anything that doesn't advance its director's personal agenda." The review stated that "Though as a writer-director, Schnabel's work is not the total fiasco the debut films of fellow artists David Salle (Search and Destroy) and Robert Longo (Johnny Mnemonic)