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Al Pacino & Phil Spector: Actor's Relationship With The Convicted Killer

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Al Pacino is portraying Phil Spector in the HBO film.
Al Pacino is portraying Phil Spector in the HBO film.

PASADENA, Calif. -- Al Pacino said Friday that he decided not to meet famed record producer and convicted killer Phil Spector before portraying him in an HBO movie – only to find he already had.

A friend showed Pacino a 20-year-old photo in which the actor was standing next to Spector. Pacino said he has no memory of the moment.

The movie, "Phil Spector," debuts in March. It focuses on the client-attorney relationship between Spector and Linda Kenney Baden, who represented him in his first trial after he was charged with the murder of actress Lana Clarkson. That ended in a mistrial, but Spector was convicted in a second trial and is now serving 19 years to life in prison.

Pacino wore a dizzying array of wigs in his portrayal of the eccentric Spector, whose "Wall of Sound" style was an integral part of pop music in the early 1960s. The actor said he decided not to meet Spector in prison because he'd be a different man than the one Pacino is portraying, who had not yet been convicted of a crime.

He watched video clips of Spector to help him with his portrayal.

"I didn't know anything about him, except that he was responsible for a lot of great music and this strange case," Pacino said.

Actress Helen Mirren, who portrayed Baden, said she heard stories about Spector from her filmmaker husband, Taylor Hackford, who had hired Spector to provide music for his 1980 film, "The Idolmaker."

The Academy Award-winning Mirren was a last-minute substitute in her role. Bette Midler had begun filming as Baden, but had to withdraw because of a bad back. The film's executive producers are Barry Levinson and David Mamet.

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