When it comes to biopics (biographical movies), the movie industry tends to struggle with the balancing act between staying true to the facts of a subject’s life and the need to entertain audiences. This means that the truth and timelines tend to get messed with in order to fit the story of a person’s life into the usual movie narrative. As a result, many crazy and interesting things get left on the cutting room floor.
Sometimes, certain details of a person’s life are left out due to time constraints. Other times, facts are omitted in order to make someone appear more like a black-and-white villain or hero. So what exactly do you not know about the following famous people because of the movie industry? Here are six well-known biopics that left out important facts about their subjects.
1. Get On Up: James Brown stole “It’s A Man’s Man’s World”
James Brown had a crazy and convoluted life, so it’s no surprise that there were many important people and events that were not included in this movie. But the biggest omission might be the fact that Brown stole the huge hit that many people know him for. Betty Jean Newsome dated the icon and went on a drive with him when she began singing “Dah-dah-dah-dah-dah-dah-dah, man’s world,” she told Village Voice. Brown listened closely and added more words to the song. He then went forward with recording the song but didn’t give her any credit. Newsome, of course, took him to court for it.
Newsome won her lawsuit and Brown eventually talked about the decision on the radio station WAAW in 1999. “You can’t undo history. So, you know, they gave it to her against my thing. I didn’t ever agree with it. But they gave it to her — why take it away from her?”
So what was Newsome’s inspiration for the song? She told Village Voice that it was the book of Genesis. “I was just reading the Bible and thinking about how wonderful and powerful man is … God, he can create, he can take man’s rib out of his body and make a woman. I was just sitting there and thinking about how, after all of these things that he made and he did, all of it was worthless without a woman — and you gotta have them kids — or a girl. That’s where the girl part comes in.”
2. Straight Outta Compton: Dr. Dre’s violence against women
This recent movie made little to no mention of the women in the group members’ lives. This led to the movie facing criticism for possibly trying to cover up the fact that Dre got into a physical altercation with a woman. According to People, Denise “Dee” Barnes had an interview with Ice Cube after he left the group and it rubbed Dre the wrong way.
The rapper reportedly tried to throw her down a flight of stairs, slammed her against a wall, and choked her on the floor of a nightclub. She later pressed charges, and Dre pleaded no contest to misdemeanor battery. Barnes was one of the critics of the film for leaving the whole situation out. She reportedly didn’t want it to show graphic violence but wanted the incident addressed in some type of way.
3. The Social Network: Eduardo Saverin’s partying past
This movie mostly painted Mark Zuckerberg as the villian, and to go with that narrative he had to be the one who was less serious but ended up with everything. According to Business Insider, this really wasn’t the case. Zuckerberg and his family invested heavily in the company by taking out loans for servers. On the other hand, Saverin put ads for free on Facebook without notifying his partners. He also liked to party in New York while Zuckerberg worked in California.
4. The Imitation Game: The man who created the first machine
When movies make heroes they tend to make them all-knowing. So it’s not too big of a shocker that they took out an entire inventor from this movie in order to create that narrative. According to Slate, a Polish cryptanalyst created the Bombe, or ticking machine that was meant to break the Germans’ Enigma code. Turing, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, was later brought in to collaborate with mathematician Gordon Welchman to design a new machine that would get the job done faster. Another huge alteration was the fact that Turing wasn’t afraid to talk about his attraction to men with his friends and colleagues. This is kind of a big oversight since the movie really focuses on Turing being in the closet.
5. A Beautiful Mind: Nash’s illegitimate child
This movie focused on Nash’s relationship with Nasar, but she wasn’t the only woman in his life. He was also close to a Boston nurse named Eleanor Stier, which resulted in a son named John in 1953, according to Slate. Sadly, Nash didn’t take care of them, so John was put in foster care for a period of time and Eleanor eventually had to sue Nash for child support. The father and son later communicated off and on for years.
Another important thing that was left out of the movie was Nash’s sexuality. While he had multiple relationships with women, he was also attracted to men. That in itself isn’t crazy, but according to Nasar’s biography the mathematician once climbed into his friend’s bed while he was sleeping to “make a pass at him” when he was an undergraduate.
6. 12 Years A Slave: Solomon’s second fight with Tibeats
Before Solomon is sold off to Edwin Epps (played by Michael Fassbender), he gets into two altercations with a plantation overseer named Tibeats. The first incident was correctly depicted in the film as Solomon defends himself by whipping and hitting Tibeats when he tries to beat him unjustly. However, the second incident with Tibeats that was in the book was completely left out of the movie. The second altercation occurred when Tibeats tried to attack Solomon with an ax.