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The 2001 movie Rock Star starring Mark Wahlberg and Jennifer Aniston Wikipedia site claims that the movie was inspired by the real-life story of Tim Owens who was in a Judas Priest tribute band and replaced lead singer Rob Halford.

There are several similarities to the movie and Judas Priest's story, but I just watched a Vh1 documentary on Rob Halford and he adamantly denies the movie has anything to do with Judas Priest.

Does anyone know if the movie actually was or was not based on the story of Judas Priest? Are there maybe any official statements about this from people involved with the movie or is this just a myth/speculation based on a few similarities? If it has been officially said to be based on Judas Priest, why does Rob Halford deny it?

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The movie was inspired by the story of Tim Owens after The New York Times writer Andrew C. Revkin wrote a story on him. Warner Bros. decided to make a movie out of it and, as happens so often when studios try to make a movie about a real life person or a band, that person wants to make sure they can control how they are portrayed as to not destroy their image. But studios are not keen on handing over that kind of control over their projects. According to MTV News,

Initially, Judas Priest were interested in the project, and Warner Bros. wanted the band to write music for the soundtrack. However, the group wanted creative input on the film, and that soured the deal, said Revkin, who was hired as a creative consultant for the movie.

So at that point they turn it into a fictional story to cut off any lawsuits. That also frees them from having to be factually correct and giving them freedom to make the story more interesting, like adding Jennifer Anniston as a love interest. Tim Owens said, “They fabricated things and decided to pull away from my story and make their own because I guess mine was too normal."

The writer they hired to write the script said this:

I pitched my take on the story – an obsessed twentysomething selling office supplies in a rust-belt town has completely subsumed his own identity while fronting a tribute band. It’s only after this Überfan becomes the lead singer for the band he worships that he discovers his own identity and individual voice.

That wording makes me think it was intended to be a fictionalized version from the point he became involved. Although he did a lot of research, even going to Owens' home town, to get the character right, he did not mention speaking to Owens himself or any other member of the band. The fact that the character in the movie ends up being replaced by the original singer was completely fictional, but prophetic, as Owens left Judas Priest in 2003 to be replaced by Rob Halford, two years after Rock Star was released.

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There are a few things similar to Judas Priest:

  • Judas Priest did replace Rob Halford with a member from a JP cover band.

  • Rob Halford is actually gay as portrayed by the ex lead singer in the movie.

Other than that, those are really the only connections to the movie.

One point of interest is that JP was actually in talks with Warner Brothers to be "creative consultants" to the movie and to provide new songs for the soundtrack pre-production. When Warner brothers would not give them full creative control, they distanced themselves from the movie and threatened WB with lawsuits.

I think that the movie was in fact based on JP. I am not aware of any other high profile heavy metal bands that have replaced their lead singer with a fan and that has an openly gay lead singer.

http://www.mtv.com/news/1444846/judas-priest-turn-their-backs-on-rock-star-movie/

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  • I just assumed that Halford distanced himself from the movie because the lead singer in the movie was a closet homosexual and Halford did not want an association with that due to his image.
    – user23759
    Aug 14 '15 at 23:34
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    @Brad Rob Halford does not deny that he is gay. He does not stand on a platform about it and he gets heat from the gay community because he is not an outspoken activist. He simply states "yes, I'm gay. Move on." As for his image, JP has very devoted fans and JP is actually more popular now than they were before Halford admitted to being gay. Aug 14 '15 at 23:45

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