CRASH. BAM. POW.
Adam West will always BE Batman.
A new documentary, “Starring Adam West,” lets fans into the TV star’s world. It tracks his rise to fame and follows him around in his life today. You get to know the man behind the mask, his struggles with typecasting and his acceptance of the character he made famous.
Unlike feature films, documentary filmmakers don’t really know what kind of film they’re going to make till after they’ve finished filming. They have a topic but no script and an ever-changing story. Once all the footage is collected, it’s up to the director to piece together a cohesive and interesting story.
Director (and West’s son-in-law), James Tooley, does a phenomenal job telling this story. West is a private person and doesn’t let many into his batcave. Tooley started by following West around to Comic Con appearances, radio interviews, and voice-over jobs. Then slowly started to dig deeper into his history.
While West’s daughter, Nina, and other fans were working to get West a well-deserved star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, that became a part of Tooley’s story. After filming for about two years, Tooley started a kickstarter project to raise funds for his film. It took another two years before it was finished and premiered at the Sun Valley Film Festival in March 2013.
With interviews from family, fans, famous friends, and West himself, the documentary weaves together old footage and new in a very balanced way. You leave the film more in love with this pop culture icon than you did before. You go a fan of the caped crusader, but you leave a fan of the actor.
Batman, that voice, they’re iconic and not easily escapable for an actor. West has been steadily working for over 50 years but never got the recognition he deserved. Over time he learned to stop running away from the tights and cap and embrace it.
“Starring Adam West” touches on his relationship with his fans, his personal life, his public persona, and his professional career. There are two stories, one about West and his life, and another about his family and fans work to get him a star. (Spoiler: the film has a happy ending with West finally getting his star.) Both are fascinating and come together in one great movie.
If you get the chance, I recommend this funny and entertaining documentary.
- My Newest Addiction, Adam West Batman! (gimpyeh.wordpress.com)
- SVFF: The ‘Classic’ Batman Stars at the Sun Valley Film Festival (boiseweekly.com)