Boy George on Hitting the Cannes Market and His Desire to Act More: I Should Be the ‘Gay Dinosaur’ in Every Animated Movie

Boy George, lead singer of Culture Club, was synonymous with 1980s pop culture. Following a string of ubiquitous international radio hits such as “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” and “Karma Chameleon,” the Grammy-winning singer embarked on a solo career, with his recording of “The Crying Game” punctuating Neil Jordan’s Academy Awarding-winning film of the same name. A steady fixture on reality shows as host of “The Voice Australia” and “The Voice U.K.,” Boy George is hitting the big screen, playing himself in Arclight Films’ comedy adventure “Arthur’s Whiskey,” starring Oscar-winner Diane Keaton, David Harewood (“Homeland,” “Blood Diamond”) and legendary Scottish recording artist Lulu. Arclight Films is handling worldwide rights to “Arthur’s Whiskey,” directed and co-written by Stephen Cookson. Arclight Films is selling the pic at the Cannes market. 

You’ve played yourself in movies. What made you decide to do that again in “Arthur’s Whiskey?”

It’s not the first time I’ve been in a movie, but it’s the first time I’ve been in a movie with Diane Keaton, that’s for sure. The thing about this film is that I am quite friendly with Lulu. We did some gigs together last year. And then she randomly called me a few months ago and said, “I’m doing this movie. Do you want to be in it?” And I was like, “That’s really sweet. Who’s in it?” And she said, “Diane Keaton.” And I said, “OK, OK, I’m coming.” 

You sing one of your biggest hits in the film. What was the experience on set like?

I had such a fun day. It was really quick and beautiful and fun. I had just come back from Vegas and they re-created this sort of mini-Vegas where we filmed, and we have a live audience in it for a little bit, which is really nice. When anyone asks me to sing “Karma Chameleon,” my eyes roll back to the back of my head, bounce off my tonsils and come back again. I’m like, OK, whatever. But the good news is that we have another song in the film which is a new song, a beautiful song called “Let Things Go.” So it balances itself out, because nostalgia is a racket. But in the last year alone, I’ve released 47 tracks. I am probably more prolific now than I ever was at the height of Culture Club or the 1980s. 

Had you ever met Diane Keaton before?

Never. I was very excited about meeting her. I just know her from so many movies and I have to say, it was very normal meeting her. I’m very normal as well, and I think sometimes your reputation kind of dances ahead of you and people just think, “Oh my God, what’s it going to be like?” I mean, she’s tough. She’s not a pushover. Probably on a scale of one to 10, she’s definitely more difficult than I am. She was such fun. 

Looking ahead, are you hoping to be cast in a scripted role where you get to play someone other than yourself?

I would love to have a role in a movie where I wasn’t playing myself. That’d be so interesting. I see a lot of things and I always think, “You know, why aren’t I in that?” It’s something I wouldn’t have thought about when I was young and a bit more rigid about being a musician, but in this kind of climate that we’re in, you’re kind of doing all sorts of interesting things. I would say that live playing is the pinnacle of what I love. When I’m singing onstage with a band — it’s really the only time you can authentically be yourself. But as I’ve gotten older, I tried to kind of be more open to new challenges. And like, why wouldn’t I do it? Why not? I don’t know why I’m not the gay dinosaur in every [animated] movie, you know? The voice of the gay dinosaur should be me. 

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