The Ethics Of The Biopic

At those times when truth is stranger than fiction, you can bet that Hollywood is going to want to make a movie about it. In fact, the film genre known as the ‘biopic’ – a movie based on the facts of a real life situation, but not necessarily adhering to them strictly – has gained increasing popularity with both filmmakers and moviegoers in recent years. But the subjects of these films are almost never compensated for having a fictionalized account of their lives playing at the multiplex. Worse yet, many media outlets sell the film rights to biographical articles, without ever consulting with the subject. It’s legal, sure, but is it ethical? More importantly, does anyone care?