Audiences across the country will get an unrivaled look into the mind of legendary rock icon Ozzy Osbourne in “God Bless Ozzy Osbourne”, an exclusive in-theater Fathom event that will be broadcast to more than 400 movie theaters nationwide Monday, August 29 at 7:30 p.m. (local time). Shot over the course of three years, audiences will experience the life story of Ozzy, as seen through the eyes of his youngest child, producer/filmmaker, Jack Osbourne, who worked alongside directors Mike Fleiss and Mike Piscitelli.
During the documentary, Ozzy will recount his troubled youth, his early career with Black Sabbath and the impact of fame and addictions on his first marriage. Viewers will also witness the second chapter of his life as a family man with Sharon, during which his addictions grew to a frightening level, as well as hear Ozzy and his children explain his attempts at staying clean, ultimately resulting in more than five years of sobriety. Music fans will also see live performances from around the world, including rare behind the scenes clips of Ozzy on and off stage, in his dressing rooms pre-show, to his nights in a series of hotel rooms. Throughout “God Bless Ozzy Osbourne”, audiences are given an inside look into the life of a rock star, from the good times to the bad.
We spoke with Jack the day after the film premiere to get an insight on how he approached the project about his father – The Prince Of Darkness, Ozzy Osbourne.
Jack, it’s great to catch up with you on the day after your film “God Bless Ozzy Osbourne” was released. Fan reaction has been through the roof! How are you feeling about this project the day after it’s release?
It’s great! Slowly but surely the stress of this whole project is lifting. It’s like Ahhhhhhhhh. Finally. I’m glad people have reacted to it in a positive way – the people I care about. This movie was made for Ozzy fans and for people that have an interest in my father.
People see it’s a personal project for you because it is about your dad, but you financed this with your own cash – right?
Yeah. I figured it was one of the best ways to tell the story I wanted to tell. Someone can’t exactly come in and tell you not to do something if they haven’t paid for it.
I would be nervous and maybe even a little hesitant about how to take on a project like this. Did you approach this as Jack “The Son” or Jack “The Filmmaker”?
I think it was a healthy combination of the two. I had to wear both hats with this. I had to approach it as me telling a story about my father but it’s also me telling a story about Ozzy Osbourne. Standing in the middle of the road was the toughest thing for me.
As with any conversation about family there’s going to be some stories you may not want to tell everything you know. Did anything ever come up that you knew you’d touch on but maybe didn’t elaborate on as much?
There were some things that weren’t personal to me but they were for my dad. He essentially only told us what we wanted to know. That’s what we got. He never looked at us and said “I’m not going to talk about that.” If he didn’t want us to know about it he wouldn’t have told us. He pretty much answered every question we fired at him. The toughest part – and not saying he was every lying – was getting a more honest answer. If you think about it he’s probably been asked every question you can imagine over the past 40 years. He always had these “go to” answers for everything. It was getting beyond those that took Mike Piscitelli, the director, a long time.
I can imagine those “go to” answers were to keep his Ozzy persona in check.
There have been a few Ozzy documentaries and films over the years. Did any of them strike you as being way off the mark?
I don’t think they missed the mark on telling the story of Ozzy. They told the beginning, middle and where he is now. They don’t tell the story of John. This film isn’t as much about Ozzy Osbourne as it is about John. That’s his real name and it was all about getting through the BS to get to the core.
I’m sure you realized there may be some things pop up that you didn’t know about. Did anything come up that surprised you?
There was nothing uncomfortable I didn’t know about. Like I mentioned earlier, I wore two hats with this project. If anything uncomfortable came up I just approached it in producer mode and didn’t let it affect me in a personal manner. There really wasn’t anything too Earth shattering.
Tell me about the first time you dad saw “God Bless Ozzy Osbourne”.
It was at the Tribeca Film Festival. He sat next to me in the movie theater. I was looking over every now and then and he’d get emotional at times and was laughing at others. It must have been a pretty wild ride for him – especially to sit there and have Paul McCartney talking about him on a big screen! To him, that’s one of his more crowning achievements.
What about you? What was it like watching the finished project with your dad?
I was a little nervous but I was excited. For so long he made fun of me saying, “When’s this movie gonna be made? What’s your deal?” He was always riding me about it. He called it the Chinese Democracy of documentaries!
When will “God Bless Ozzy Osbourne” be available on DVD? Will it have any bonus features?
It will be out around Thanksgiving. There’s plenty of bonus features. About 25 minutes of extra footage and things of that nature.
Now that the movie is out and you can take time to look back on the whole project, what did you learn making this film?
Documentaries take a lot longer and are a lot tougher than you would ever think! (laughs)
I know video and film projects are in your blood. What else do you have coming up?
There’s a lot of things popping up. I would really love to do a documentary on Tommy Lee. I really want to do that one next. There’s been talk about Black Sabbath horror movies. They’re scripted and not about the band. They’re more about the culture of Black Sabbath. I started my own production company called Schweet Entertainment. We’re developing TV shows which is pretty exciting. There’s a lot in the pipeline.
Jack, I’ve got to throw this in here or I’ll have thousands of metalheads ready to kick my ass. Is there going to be a Black Sabbath reunion?
(laughs) Everyone is asking me what’s going on! Honestly, I don’t know. One minute it’s a possibility and the next minute it’s nothing. Last time I spoke with my dad he was at the house in England and there was no mention of any Sabbath-ness. (laughs) Things can change.
Sorry you had to hear that question again, but I had to ask man. (laughs)
No, no. It’s fine. I’m excited that people are ready for this. I think it’s good that all four of them can see the internet chatter about the excitement. That may be a bit of good inspiration for them.
The fans are out in full force…
You got that right. I read online that someone said since Ozzy didn’t show up at the premiere that he must be in some dark castle somewhere recording doomy tracks. (laughs)