ByKen Anderson, writer at
Ken Anderson

BBC Films, the motion picture subsidiary of the British Broadcasting, Co., announced plans this week for a documentary about the life and work of singer, songwriter, actress, and style icon, Grace Jones.

Formerly a model, Jamaican-born Grace Jones (nee Beverly Grace Jones) became an international club sensation in the late 70s with her popular trilogy of disco albums: Portfolio (1977), Fame (1978), and Muse - each distinguished by stylish silkscreen/photo cover imagery by well-known Warhol graphic artist, Richard Bernstein.

In the 1980s, Jones revamped her image (going from striking shaved head to daring geometric flattop) and reinvented herself as something of a surrealist, New Wave performance artist. Much of her music (some composed by Jones herself) displaying jazz, reggae, an R& B influences, Jones’ elaborate outfits and art-inspired stage shows made her an ideal subject for the visuals-heavy MTV era. But what started out as attention-getting evolved into true groundbreaking concert theater.

Her distinctive look made for a showy transition to film, where she appeared as a warrior in Conan the Destroyer (1984 ), a James Bond villain in A View to a Kill (1985), a stripper vampire in Vamp (1986), and most memorably, her somewhat self-parodistic role as the eccentric fashion model, Strangé, in the comedy, Boomerang (1992).

Grace Jones-Style Icon
Grace Jones-Style Icon

Over the course of her nearly 40-year career, several of Jones’ songs have become pop classics (“Pull Up to the Bumper” and “Slave to the Rhythm”), and she continues to be an influence on fashion designers, artists, and other performers (recording artists Lady Gaga and Rihanna both claim to being influenced by Jones). Jones’ last album was 2008s Hurricane, and in 2014 she contributed a song to the soundtrack of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay –Part 1.

Announced as part of BBC Films 25th Anniversary launching of 15 new projects, the proposed documentary is to be titled, Grace Jones — The Musical of My Life and is intended to be “a cinematic journey into the private and public worlds of Grace Jones, mixing intimate personal footage with unique staged musical sequences.” The film will be produced and directed by filmmaker Sophie Fiennes (sister of actor Ralph Fiennes) the director of the documentary, The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology (2012).

No date has been announced for the release of the documentary, but Grace Jones’ first three albums – long out of print, will be remastered and reissued along with previously unreleased material later this year in a boxed-set titled, Grace Jones: The Disco Years.

Grace Jones-The Disco Years
Grace Jones-The Disco Years


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