Boy George’s rags-to-riches story gets a sympathetic portrayal in Worried About the Boy, a British telemovie released in Australia on DVD this week.
The film takes an unusual look at the Culture Club story in that it focuses largely on the band’s pre-fame days, with 17-year-old George O’Dowd (played by newcomer Douglas Booth) moving into a squalid house with kindred spirits and slowly developing his style, voice and songwriting talent.
“It’s all about pre-Culture Club, which is great — it’s quite an unusual idea, to focus on that period before the band,” Boy George told the UK newspaper The Daily Mirror.
“And for me at the moment, it’s really great that the BBC are doing this, because it means people will ask me about prison less!”
Interspersed throughout the film are scenes of George at the late-’80s tail-end of Culture Club — isolated, drug-addled and relentlessly hounded by the paparazzi. The band’s glory days of 1982-83 are only ever alluded to.
Supporting players include Mathew Horne as Jon Moss, Mark Gatiss in a comic turn as the eccentric record company honcho Malcolm McLaren, and Marc Warren as flamboyant Visage frontman Steve Strange.
George, who visited the set of the film on occasion, gave the project his blessing after insisting on giving his input.
“They didn’t want to [involve me] at first, but I was quite pushy. I was very certain that they had to get all the looks right — in the wrong hands it could look quite pantomimey.”
INFO: Worried About the Boy (Universal) out now.