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Al Pacino yells a lot in this movie. Granted, that could be said of any number of Al Pacino movies.
Phil Spector, which premieres Sunday, March 24 at 9 p.m. ET, is the second time in three years that Pacino has starred in a Barry Levinson -produced HBO movie in which he plays a highly controversial real-life figure who ends up going to jail. (The other being 2010’s You Don’t Know Jack, for which he won an Emmy for his portrayal of physician-assisted suicide proponent Dr. Jack Kevorkian.) This time around Pacino is the eponymous record producer, the unhinged musical genius behind the “Wall of Sound” studio production technique—a thickly layered sound heard on classics like The Ronettes’ “Be My Baby” and The Beatles’ “The Long and Winding Road.” Spector had long enjoyed a reputation for being a lunatic; his eccentricities were often eclipsed by allegations of a pattern of violence against women. Less appalling tales involve him doing things like holding The Ramones at gunpoint during a recording session in 1979.
All his wild and vicious behavior culminated in the shooting death of actress/model Lana Clarkson at his California mansion in 2003. For this, Spector was convicted of second-degree murder in 2009, and sentenced to 19 years to life.