Movie Quiz: Musical biopics of note

Elvis Presley has been depicted and impersonated countless times on stage and screen. But amazingly, the King of Rock and Roll has never been the subject of a big-screen biopic until now.

“Elvis” is a glitzy, fanciful retelling of the life of the legendary musician. Who would expect any less from Australian auteur of excess Baz Luhrmann? 

Now it’s time to test your knowledge of other musical movie biographies of the biggest names in rock, pop, country, soul and hip hop.  
1.    Dennis Quaid played rock pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis in 1989’s “Great Balls of Fire!” That film’s classic title song was also featured in his future wife Meg Ryan’s 1986 movie “Top Gun,” co-starring Val Kilmer. What real-life historical figure was played by both Quaid and Kilmer in separate movies?

2.    Val Kilmer also played Jim Morrison in 1991’s “The Doors” (opposite Meg Ryan!) and was criminally unnominated for an Oscar. Which of the following actors was also NOT nominated for their role as a rock icon: Gary Busey as Buddy Holly in “The Buddy Holly Story”; Lou Diamond Phillips as Richie Valens in “La Bamba”; Cate Blanchett as Bob Dylan in “I’m Not There”; or Angela Bassett as Tina Turner in “What’s Love Got to Do with It”?

3.     “I’m Not There” co-writer Oren Moverman scripted the 2014 Brian Wilson biopic “Love & Mercy.” What two actors played the Beach Boys founder at different ages?

4.    Jennifer Lopez played Tejano star Selena Quintanilla Perez in 1997’s “Selena,” two years after Quintanilla was killed by her fan club manager on March 31, 1995. What famous hip hop star, himself part of a 2015 musical biography, died five days earlier on March 26, 1995, after a short illness.  

5.    Rami Malek won an Oscar for playing Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in 2018’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” in which Mercury’s bandmate, bass player John Deacon, was played by Joseph Mazzello, best known for his role in what decades-old blockbuster with a sequel in theaters now?

6.    Aaron Taylor-Johnson had his breakout role in 2009’s “Nowhere Boy” as the teenage John Lennon while he himself was still a teenager. What other notable thing came out of his involvement with that film?

7.    Which one of these musical biographies made the most at the worldwide box office: “Ray,” about Ray Charles; “Rocketman,” about Elton John; or “Walk the Line,” about Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash?

8.    True or false: Anton Corbijn, the director of the 2007 film “Control” about Joy Division singer Ian Curtis, who committed suicide in 1980, began his career as a music photographer, taking pictures of artists and bands, including Joy Division. 

9.    In 2014’s “Get on Up,” featuring Chadwick Boseman as Godfather of Soul James Brown, the actor playing Brown’s agent Ben Bart also starred in 1980 with Brown himself in the singer’s first film (other than the little-seen “The Phynx”). Name the actor. 

10.    The 27 Club is based on an unscientific theory that musicians die most frequently at the age of 27, like Jim Morrison (“The Doors”) and Jimi Hendrix (“Jimi: All Is by My Side”). Match these other three who died at 27 with the movie or upcoming movie that’s directly or loosely inspired by them: A. Kurt Cobain; B. Janis Joplin; C. Keith Moon. I. “Last Days”; II. “The Real Me”; III. “The Rose” 





1.    Doc Holliday (Quaid in 1994’s “Wyatt Earp”; Kilmer in 1993’s “Tombstone”)

2.    Lou Diamond Phillips

3.    Paul Dano and John Cusack

4.    Eazy-E (“Straight Outta Compton”) of the group NWA died from HIV/AIDS one month after being diagnosed

5.    “Jurassic Park” 

6.    The 18-year-old actor, known then as Aaron Johnson, started a relationship with his 42-year-old director, Samantha Taylor-Johnson, known then as Samantha Taylor-Wood. 

7.    “Rocketman”

8.    True

9.    Dan Aykroyd starred with John Belushi in “The Blues Brothers,” alongside James Brown as Reverend Cleophus James

10.    A-I; B-III; C-II

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