Mick Jagger is probably the most famous and iconic frontman rock ‘n’ roll has to offer. As the voice and face of the infamous band of misfits in The Rolling Stones, many singers have tried to emulate him over the years, and far too few come even close. In his heyday, he was the symbol of sexual liberation, hedonism, and individual autonomy in every other sense.
What makes Jagger’s brand of rock ‘n’ roll so appealing is that it has always been underpinned by a degree of intellectualism. Perhaps it’s got something to do with him having gone to the London School of Economics, which provides a dynamic not often seen with rock stars.
Whether you like the music of The Rolling Stones or not, one cannot deny that Mick Jagger has got some serious charisma. Some are turned off by it and weirded out, while others can’t get enough; either way, it inspires the extremes of reactions, and he commands attention.
It is no surprise, then, that his natural on-stage ability translates well to the big screen. Not to mention, despite Jagger’s unprecedented success and notoriety as a blues singer, one can’t help but get the feeling that for some reason he would much rather be an actor. Perhaps it is a natural casualty of creative types; the grass is always greener on the other side.
So, in 1970, Jagger finally got his break in the Tony Richardson film Ned Kelly, a story about the famous Aussie outlaw. While the Stones never achieved the kind of cinematic success that The Beatles secured during the 1960s, a kind of success that Jagger wanted as well, he would turn down one film after another. Jagger had his sights set on something bigger: he wanted to be in Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation of a demented masterpiece. “I remember I wanted to be in A Clockwork Orange, because I loved that book,” Jagger says. “I never auditioned – I vaguely knew (director) Stanley Kubrick but he didn’t cast me,” Jagger said according to USA Today.
While Ned Kelly tanked, The New York Times wrote: “With a beard that makes him appear more Amish than Australian, [Jagger] is, sadly, simply a dour renegade who rarely becomes the ‘wild colonial boy’ of the legend” – Jagger’s next effort would bode well, and it is no coincidence that it happened to be a film about a rock star, called Performance – he essentially played himself.
Jagger would remain quiet throughout the rest of the decade on the acting front, focusing on his music with the exception of doing some artsy projects and a mockumentary. Jagger’s acting career, for the most part, has always been a little wishy-washy, with specks of thespian-like grandeur with undertones of pretentiousness, the sort we would not exactly expect from a Rolling Stone. Therefore, one would be lead to think that acting has always been just good fun for Jagger — or perhaps he even actively enjoys the campiness of some of the films he has done. It would certainly explain his involvement with the embarrassing film, Freejack, a dystopian nightmare.
“I would like to have done a lot more, but it’s a funny world, film. You don’t get that many interesting things; you get a lot of rubbish offered to you that you might do if that was the only job. But I have other things to do,” Jagger said in an interview with USA Today.
Jagger made a high-profile return to the big screen with the sci-fi film, Freejack, in 1992. While Jagger’s performance as the villain Victor Vacendak was received with a lukewarm reception, the rest of the film was widely a disaster.
Freejack is a campy film, part of that classic niche called cyberpunk sci-fi. The archetypal film of this category which all others essentially stem from is Blade Runner. Another popular one is The Matrix. The viewer is introduced to the same old themes of dystopia but the only difference is in Freejack, the portrayal is unbelievably silly and non-believable.
The reason why Mick Jagger brings his role to life, is that his performance is absurdly ridiculous that it blends in well with the rest of the shoddy patchwork. All Jagger has to worry about is making his character believable, and when the rest of the film is the complete opposite, it is not a difficult thing to do.
Jagger plays the sinister bounty hunter, Vacendak, who specialises in snatching bodies from the past to be usurped by the elite class who, in their present time, are dealing with incurable, deteriorating health issues.
Jagger’s decision to do the movie was very spur of the moment, during which, he was working on his solo album Wandering Spirit.
Jagger has since done some better films such as 2019’s The Burnt Orange Heresy.