Potts' luck on screen

Potts' luck on screen
Paul Potts (above)

The dramatic rags-to-riches life story of Paul Potts - a shy mobile-phone salesman turned opera-singing star - has been made into a movie, One Chance.

But the British singer, who won the first season of popular reality television series Britain's Got Talent in 2007, will be the first to tell you that the film is not 100 per cent accurate.

"I was very determined that the movie shouldn't be a documentary, the movie should be a comedy," the 43-year-old says in a telephone interview from London. "I think that sometimes when you make a documentary, people might feel that they are being preached to. It's a feel-good comedy, there's no cliffhanger, we know how it ends."

The film, to be released here in January, is directed by David Frankel, the man behind Hollywood flicks such as The Devil Wears Prada (2006) and Marley & Me (2008).

Potts says that talk about turning his story into a movie started during his Britain's Got Talent days, but the plans solidified only when Frankel signed on to helm the film in late-2010.

One Chance is now showing in Britain and playing the film festival circuit in the United States to mixed reviews. The Hollywood Reporter called it "an utterly formulaic but sweet movie that does what a crowd-pleaser is meant to do". Meanwhile, British newspaper The Telegraph dismissed it as "one of those biopics with a totally canned story arc and as many head-slapping moments as intentional laughs".

The plot traces the singer's insecure youth: As a young man, he was plagued by bullies but harboured dreams of becoming an opera singer. British Academy of Film and Television Arts and Tony award-winner James Corden stars as Potts.

"I left him free to do how he felt it should be done," Potts says of Corden's portrayal. "It's not meant to be a gospel-true reflection of me, it's always going to be his take of who I am and what I've been through."

He says the more factual account of his life will be told in his autobiography, One Chance: A Memoir, which is set to be released next month.

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