Jared Harris, I Shot Andy Warhol
This is my favorite depiction of Andy Warhol. Harris captures that ambivalent Warhol persona that is both ubermensch artiste and insecure popular figure. A lot of the other actors seem to write this character off as either ‘kind of gay’ or ‘kind of pretentious,’ but Harris plays it lackadaisical, creating a character that is funny, smart, and sympathetic as well as kind of gay and kind of pretentious.
Guy Pearce, Factory Girl
Pearce’s Warhol has the most screentime of any other Warhol presented here, leading to a respectable contrast between Andy’s detached public persona and a sensitive, private character. Pearce’s delivery is rather stiff, even zombiesque, but certain eccentricities – Hershey kisses, a bathcap, self-deprecation, constant reference to Mick Jagger’s cock – parse out a more interesting portrait of Warhol.
David Bowie, Basquiat
If not the best performance of Warhol, certainly the most interesting. Warhol and Bowie were genuine contemporaries and Bowie spent time with him in person. Warhol once photographed Bowie’s shoes and on Hunky Dory, Bowie recorded a song named after the artist. Bowie actually does a great job – his timing is fantastic and he does a perfect lilting, uncertain speech pattern, though with the remnants of a British accent.
Crispin Glover, The Doors
Maybe the most original performance of the list. Crispin Glover seems to be playing Crispin Glover playing Andy Warhol. Whereas Val Kilmer is trying so hard to affect a Jim Morrison, Glover seems at ease in Warhol’s weird and wonderful persona. Awareness of Glover’s own artistic endeavors (as musician, director, and performance artist) further cements this as great casting.
Greg Travis, Watchmen
Only shows up in the opening credits sequence, an alternative history of the 20th century with superheroes. Warhol is trotted out as a contemporary cultural symbol to present Factory-style prints of one of the superheroes (Owlman?). No speaking role. Travis wears Andy Warhol sunglasses and black turtleneck+leather jacket, basically hiding behind an Andy Warhol façade for ~3 seconds. Of note: Truman Capote is also in the scene.
Sean Sullivan, 54
Sullivan looks the least like Warhol. During the scene, I am thinking that we are not even going to see Warhol’s face. Sullivan plays it femme and there is no development in the ~5 seconds of screentime and one line delivered. Another example of ‘playing the Warhol card’ to demonstrate fashionable/avant-garde/chic parties of a certain era (the 1960s).
Mark Bringleson, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
Andy Warhol paints a woman’s body at a fake British psychedelic club. Austin Powers looks over at Warhol, but doesn’t say anything. No speaking role. The movie is supposed to be funny, so maybe it gets a free pass for playing the Warhol card in Britain with a shitty song in the background. At least 54 licensed the Velvet Underground.