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Andy Warhol's Bad (1976)

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Color/Sound/103 1/2 mins
An Andy Warhol/Jeff Tornberg Production
Screenplay by George Abagnalo and Pat Hackett
Distributed by EMI Film Distributors Limited
(scroll down for cast & production credits)

Bob Colacello on Bad:

"The Bad story started back in 1973, when we met Robert Stigwood and one of his young right-hand men, Jeff Tornberg. Stigwood had produced Jesus Christ Superstar; he was the manager for the Bee Gees; he had a private plane, a yacht, a castle in Bermuda, a penthouse triples in the San Remo on Central Park West, decorated by Mica Ertegun and Chessy Rayner... Andy, of course, was jealous: Stigwood always served Dom Perignon at meetings, even in the middle of the day. His young associates didn't have to pour it, as we did; they had proper servants in proper uniforms to do it for them...

All though 1974 and early 1975, AWE and RSO edged closer to a Bad deal. Fred [Hughes] and I were going to be associate producers, and Jeff Tornberg the executive producer. But just when we thought everything was set, everything started changing. Stigwood was worried about Jed's being 'too soft-spoken to direct,' or so Jeff Tornberg said.

In March 1975, Robert Stigwood made his final decision on Bad: No, with no reason why given. We were sure it had something to do with disagreements between him and Jeff Tornberg, especially since Jeff had called Andy that morning and invited him over for 'strawberries, cream, and a cloud with a silver lining.' The silver lining was that he was now available to work at AWE... We actually took a formal vote on it, the only one ever at the Factory... Andy, Jed, and Pat voted against Jeff, Fred voted for him, and I abstained... Somehow Fred's one vote constituted a majority, and Jeff Tornberg stayed on as executive producer - another Bad problem... (BC322)

The film was budgeted at $1.2 million, and Fred persuaded Peter Brant to finance it. But Andy made that a problem too. On one hand, he was worried because Peter had pulled out of Interview in exchange for backing the movie, which meant Andy had to cover the magazine's monthly losses, now running at about half of what they were under Rosemary Kent, approximately $5,000 to $6,000 a month... on the other hand, Andy also fretted about 'Peter taking over'... He [Andy] told me 'If Peter ever gets mad, he can just dump all the paintings he owns in auction and ruin my prices. We're just too involved. I mean, it's like Peter is my boss now...'

Just as shooting was about to begin, Peter demanded that Andy put in $200,000 of his own money. Andy refused... Peter felt that Andy had to show some faith in his own people, particularly in Jed... At the last possible moment, when it became apparent that Andy wasn't going to to invest a cent, Fred [Hughes] saved the day. He put in the $200,000 - his 'entire life's savings,' Andy told me, smiling... (BC323)

Bad... the Factory's only seventies movie not directed by Paul Morrissey... started shooting at the end of March 1976, in a rented studio on East 19th Street, with Jed directing a screenplay by Pat Hackett [and George Abagnalo]... We had already tried to get Vivian Vance to play the lead... It was a far cry from the I Love Lucy show, but we thought Vivian Vance would be perfect for the part...

Vivian Vance thought differently. 'I'd love to do it, Andy, I really would,' she told us over dinner at La Caravelle. 'But you must understand that for all those people out there I'm still Ethel Mertz, Lucy's next-door neighbor and the nicest woman in America, and that's why I can still go into any dinner theater in the coutry and get paid $20,000 a week, because all my nice fans in their mik stoles want to see Ethel Mertz be nice. I hate being nice and I hate my fans and I hate their mink stoles. But I love making $20,000 a week anytime I want..."

Our second choice for the lead in Bad had been Lana Turner. We were quite certain she was right for the part, though Andy was skeptical after meeting her at a party. 'She'd be too difficult,' he said. 'We'd have to do everything the way she wanted. She's just like Paulette [Goddard], without the diamonds..." (BC321)

Jed finished shooting Bad in June, and edited it all summer. In September, we had the first screening, and everyone said they loved it, though no one jumped to pick it up for distribution.

The next night Fred [Hughes] gave a Factory family dinner at home... We toasted Jed with champagne and then headed downtown - Robert [Hayes] and I stopping off to pick up cocaine on the way, the rest going directly to the Barefoot Boy, where we all danced until the closing hour. All, that is, except Andy, who had dropped off Diana [Vreeland] and gone home early. That's pretty much how it was after Bad: When Jed went out late, Andy went home early, and when Jed went home early, Andy went out late." (BC325)

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