George Michael’s life is being committed to film, not through a musical feature a la Bohemian Rhapsody, but an archive of footage that was pieced together to give context to the singer’s life. The impending documentary, George Michael Freedom Uncut, will be released on June 22nd. The former Wham! singer was heavily involved with the documentary, right up until his death at the end of 2016.
“I want to leave songs — I believe I can leave songs — that will mean something to other generations,” Michael says in the trailer. The film is soaked in legacy, pivoting the importance of the man’s career, giving him context and pathos in the world he left six years ago. The film features interview snippets from Stevie Wonder, Sir Elton John, Ricky Gervais, Nile Rodgers, Mark Ronson, Tracey Emin, Liam Gallagher, Mary J. Blige and Jean Paul Gaultier, all of them giving their opinion of the singer in their own way.
The singer formed Wham! in the 1980s with bandmate Andrew Ridgeley, as the two of them carved synth hits ‘Last Christmas’, ‘Everything She Wants’ and ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’. Michael elected to go solo during the 1990s, although his rendition of ‘Somebody to Love’ with Queen was considered such a highlight, the band reportedly considered touring with him in the 1990s.
As it happens, the band found a more permanent replacement with Adam Lambert, although bandmates Brian May and Roger Taylor still think Michael did the song more than justice. Michael was also known for his hedonistic lifestyle, leading him to remark: “I had a problem with sleeping pills for about a year and a half, and I fucked up really badly. I got in the car twice when I’d forgotten I’d already downed something to try to get me to sleep. It doesn’t matter that it wasn’t deliberate – ultimately, I did it a second time, and I could have killed somebody.” As it happens, Michael insisted that he was never accused of drinking under the influence by the authorities, but that he played a part in his recovery from drunken driver to a sober singer.