It is an epically sad story, one that seems to repeat itself endlessly: dazzling, mesmerizing, godlike figures flash and prowl across screen and stage to wild acclaim, only to come shockingly, fatally crashing down – when it seemed to all that they had absolutely everything in the world to live for. Heath Ledger, Chris Cornell, Anthony Bourdain…we, of course, could go on.
Perhaps one of the most shocking of all was the 1997 suicide of INXS singer Michael Hutchence. Since bounding so spectacularly onto the scene in 1983, the slithery Australian rock band had sold more than 30 million albums – and its glamorous, seemingly irrepressibly self-possessed frontman had played paramour to such iconic beauties Helena Christensen, Kylie Minogue and the late Paula Yates.
But in the upcoming documentary Mystify: Michael Hutchence, Christensen and Minogue both open up about the inner disquietude of the troubled singer. The former was with Hutchence when an angry taxi driver inexplicably assaulted him in 1992, causing a brain injury that seemed to send him into a gradual spiral of darkness and depression.
In the film, U2’s Bono recalls a conversation with his fellow rock icon: “I remember asking Michael what his definition of rock and roll was, and he said…liberation.” And perhaps, tragically, he was seeking the ultimate liberty in death.
Mystify: Michael Hutchence was produced, written and directed by Richard Lowenstein. A release date has not yet been announced.