Seven’s Mark Llewellyn says tonight’s Michael Hutchence documentary ‘didn’t need the authority of INXS’

The executive producer of Seven’s documentary Michael Hutchence: The Last Rockstar says he stands by the decision to create tonight’s program without the blessing of the late singer’s band INXS.

Mark Llewellyn’s comments to Mumbrella came after INXS, Universal Music Group and Petrol Records this morning put out a statement distancing them from the two-part documentary, which starts at 7.30pm.

Llewellyn told Mumbrella that Seven has the blessing of the people that matter to the story – Hutchence’s family and friends. Next month will mark the 20th anniversary of Hutchence’s death, which was later ruled at an inquest to be suicide.


Today’s statement said: “Universal Music Group, Petrol Records and the members of INXS have today confirmed that they were never approached for their opinion, consultation of the content, participation or comment in relation to the Michael Hutchence documentary on the Seven Network.

“Publication of any image or recording concerning INXS or the Band Members is not an authorized publication.

“The band remain focused on their 40th anniversary event and their future projects.”

But Llewellyn told Mumbrella: “In the nicest possible way, it was a story about Michael, it is a story about Michael, his life and time and to that extent I wanted to explore people who had not spoken out before, I wanted to go and see how his life resonated with his friends and family, those closest to him, people that had not given their accounts before and it was quite deliberate that I do so; I wanted their authority and I ended up getting it, the authority of family, the authority of friends, the authority of the Hutchence estate.

“If I was to do a documentary on INXS then you would naturally expect that I would do it with their authority, but I wasn’t doing a documentary on INXS.”

The documentary includes never-before-seen private home videos recorded by Hutchence himself .

Llewellyn said his intention was to focus on Hutchence’s life from the perspective of those external to the band, shedding light on the pivotal points in his life which were completely separate to his time as the INXS lead singer.

“These were the people who spent the most time with him in the critical points of his life, the pivotal points of his life and there was a lot going on in his life that was completely separate to the times that he was with the band, and that is why I wanted to go down that path, it is a path that has not been travelled, the other path has been well traveled.”

In 2014, Seven aired an authorised biopic based on the INXS story, Never Tear Us Apart. It rated strongly, pulling in nearly 2m metro viewers for its first episode.

Llewellyn said of tonight’s doco: “Many of these people have never spoken before and to get them made the job harder than it possibly could have been if I went down the other route, I had to win their trust to begin with…so getting them to the point where they would speak, all of them, was difficult, but once I did that it was like a dam broke, it was cathartic for most them – not all of them – and it revealed stuff about Michael about his personality, about his brilliance, about his demons, about his life, about his music that has never been canvassed before and that from the word go was what I wanted to achieve.”

Last year Universal Music Group and Passion Pictures, announced another INXS  documentary is in the works, which was set to be directed by Australian filmmaker Richard Lowenstein.

Llewellyn said he was aware the band and Murphy were associated with another documentary and his story “intertwined the history of the band” but focused on the history of Hutchence from “fresh perspectives”.

“There’s been a lot covered but a hell of a lot of questions that remain unanswered and there are significant periods in Michael life’s that were outside of the band and I’m talking about everything from the last moments, to the last year, to some of the wonderful moments in his life, all experienced by others and all outside of the band,” the executive added.

Mumbrella understands the rival Universal Music Group and Passion Pictures documentary has not been completed, and no broadcaster for it has been announced..

An INXS spokesperson told Mumbrella that announcements would be be made at an event to celebrate INXS’ 40th anniversary to be held at The State Theatre in Sydney in a fortnight’s time.

Ahead of its debut tonight the INXS spokesperson said “publication of any image or recording concerning INXS or the Band Members is not an authorized publication.”

“I have great faith in the lawyers at Channel Seven they’re wonderful people and there is nothing for INXS to fear, the accounts that people tell are honest and quite often very affectionate and the story about Michael is told by people who knew him intimately, so we trod a very careful, considered and journalistically ethical line, it would be a pity if people saw it otherwise,” Llewellyn told Mumbrella.


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