When you picture the era of rock n’ roll, chances are stories of cultural upheaval, eccentric stars, and wild parties come to mind. It’s unlikely that you’re thinking of Bill Wyman, the taciturn bassist of The Rolling Stones and subject of upcoming rock-doc “The Quiet One.”
“The Quiet One” is the feature-length directorial debut of Oliver Murray, who launched his career directing music videos for renowned artists The Horrors and Noel Gallagher. Wyman’s extraordinary archive of personal footage supplements the profile of the oft-overlooked member and covers decades of the band’s history.
Although well-regarded in its run at Tribeca Film Festival, the film’s inclusion of Wyman’s controversial marriage to Mandy Smith has soured early critics. Smith, 18, married a 52-year-old Wyman in 1989. The predatory relationship caused only minor ripples at the time, but now, following the #MeToo movement, “The Quiet One” has received intense backlash for its near dismissal of the marriage. Protests resulted in the film’s removal from the Sheffield/Doc Fest earlier in the year, but it remains in an acquisition by Sundance Selects.
Here’s the synopsis:
Known to the world as “the quiet one” of the group, former Rolling Stones bassist and rock and roll renaissance man Bill Wyman kept a detailed diary of every single day throughout his career. He also shot hours of film footage, took thousands of photographs and collected a vast private archive of memorabilia. Watching his previously unseen footage and hearing his stories is like going back in time to stand at Bill’s shoulder and experience his life first-hand. Against the odds, he escaped a bleak future in post-war, working-class London to find himself at the center of a musical and cultural revolution as part of “the greatest rock and roll band in the world.” Including interviews with Bill’s family, fellow band-mates and friends, THE QUIET ONE provides fresh insight into the reality behind the myths and legends of music’s rock and roll years as we explore the experiences and stories of a charming and down-to-earth man.
“The Quiet One” will be released in select theaters on Friday, June 21.