We go in parts. By the beginning of the 21st century, the highly mediated image of Marilyn manson He already had the backing of some film productions, from his acting debut in David Lynch’s Lost Highway (1997) to his supporting role in Asia Argento’s The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things (2004). With that background, Manson was booked to play the Queen of Hearts in a film adaptation of Alice in Wonderland —Titled Living in Neon Dreams– which could never materialize.
Marilyn Manson in Lost Highway (1997)
It should be said that that failed project by a first-time director (Jeremy Tarr) came to secure MGM as a distribution company and a cast complemented by Alan Cumming, Nia Vardalos, Daryl Hannah, Tim Roth and Jonathan Pryce. But after a long period of uncertainty, Marilyn Manson ended up giving up that postponed adaptation in 2005 because rightly « he did not feel it would happen » and was more interested in raising other projects (via).
Just in that year, he was already working on his own film proposal about the mythical Alice, although more focused on the creator of the character: the British author Lewis Carroll.
Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll It would have been Marilyn Manson’s debut feature, with a script of his own and he himself playing the title character. For the role of the young adventurer who falls into the rabbit hole, the English model was contemplated Lily cole.
« It’s about Lewis Carroll and how he became a much more strange and elaborate person than Marilyn Manson, » the four-time Grammy nominee went on to declare on the nature of the project and his interest in it (via). “Charles Dodson was his real name, and he was a person who had a tortured inability to find love and happiness in his life, and his story is one of great depression. He is one of split personality: a person who is deaf in the right ear and is left handed. He was a mathematician and an artist, a deacon in a church that believed in evolution. I relate to him.
By July 2007, media such as Billboard reported that the cast of Phantasmagoria had been added Tilda swinton and Evan Rachel Wood (The name Angelina Jolie was even rumored). According to Manson’s initial plans, filming would occur alongside the recording of his album. Eat me, drink me, but later it was decided that the cameras would not start rolling until the end of that year, when all the commitments related to the aforementioned album (including a promotional tour) were resolved.
« With the film, it was a situation in which I think I was very close to the issue, » declared the musician at the time. “I read the Lewis Carroll diaries and he was a very fractured soul. I think I identified with that more than fascination. I was in the same state of mind. Then I think that, by waiting, I can make a better film.
After three years without major updates, finally a first trailer for the terrifying film project was released in 2010, via a fan website. Lasting a minute and a half, the trailer shows several images of Lewis Carroll (Marilyn Manson) and Alicia (Lily Cole) mired in mysterious haunting situations, while other shots concern nudes, blood and creepy beings. Emanating a highly sexual and twisted style – so characteristic of the aspiring filmmaker – the trailer montage is in tune with industrial music playing in the background.
Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll trailer screenshot
Once such a sneak peek was released, it would come as no surprise that Manson saw an extremely wicked movie. Still, according to a widespread report, «The trailer caused such a reaction [negativa en el público] that the decision was made to stop the project », being « unlikely to see the light of day. » Could it be that there was indeed a wave of criticism of such magnitude that the studio behind Phantasmagoria chose to cancel it?
Still in 2010, the visual artist Anthony Silva – a frequent Manson contributor and Phantasmagoria cinematographer – said the project was still alive and he was not sure where the rumors surrounding its cancellation had come from. According to Senses of Cinema, suspicions subsequently emerged that the entire scandal consisted merely of an advertising ploy to fuel interest in the film.
In any case, it was not until 2013, in an interview with Larry King, that Marilyn Manson made mention of Phantasmagoria again, stating that the project had resurfaced, although now under the direction of Roger avary (The Rules of Attraction).
The following year, Manson spoke out via Twitter in order to bring good news about the film:
Happy that my PHANTASMAGORIA screenplay, with me portraying Lewis Carroll, is in production. His diaries inspired the best horror film ever.
– Marilyn Manson (@marilynmanson) February 6, 2014
«Happy that my script for PHANTASMAGORIA, in which I play Lewis Carroll, is in production. His diaries inspired the best horror movie in history, ”the previous tweet reads.
However, the tortuous path to build what was initially planned as Marilyn Manson’s debut feature would finally have been interrupted five years ago, without any fruit. Speaking to Reddit users in 2015, the Ohio-born celebrity confessed that she had decided to ditch the movie – the simple writing process « It was very damaging to my psyche »– and work on other film projects.
And colorín colorado, can the unmistakable vocalist ever really step into wonderland?
lewis carroll marilyn manson phantasmagoria
Toño Guzmán I have a very bad memory. Out of solidarity with my memories, I choose to lose myself too. Preferably in a movie theater.