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WHAM! director confirms George Michael’s estate ‘supportive’ of film: ‘They opened up the archive’

Exclusive: The duo’s meteoric rise to fame is explored in more detail than ever before with never-seen-before footage

By Charlotte Manning

George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley
Never-seen-before footage and audio of George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley will feature (Image: Netflix)

George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley’s WHAM! took the world by storm in the early 80s, with an epic string of hits such as ‘Club Tropicana’ and ‘I’m Your Man’. 

But they performed their last-ever gig together just over four years after forming and becoming household names. 

Now, for the very first time, fans will see the events that saw George and Andrew go from childhood best friends to global superstars told in their own words.

Director Chris Smith spoke to Attitude ahead of WHAM!’s release today (5 July) about the incredible documentary that took years to put together, including never-seen-before footage.

“The estate was very supportive in terms of opening up the archive to us”

Chris recalls the first conversations taking place “almost four years ago,” following the publication of Andrew’s memoir, WHAM! George & Me, in 2019. 

“After that, it took a long time to collect all the archival materials,” he told us. 

George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley
The pair were childhood best friends who went on to become global stars (Image: Netflix)

“Once we got them, there was so much to look through. It took over a year just to get through everything and understand what was there so we could start making it into a movie,” Chris added.

All the highs and lows of their career will be documented, from their first landmark Top Of The Pops appearance to their final gig at Wembley Stadium. 

The late star’s estate helped out with putting the documentary together, and were supportive of the project. 

“The estate was very supportive in terms of opening up the archive to us,” Chris continued,

“Andrew did everything on his end that he could with materials that were in his possession.”

George’s mum Lesley kept scrapbooks to document every single detail of WHAM!’s rise to fame, which were crucial in building the story.

“We were able to get scrapbooks from his mother. They were instrumental in helping craft the narrative and to help you understand the story better,” Chris also confirmed. 

Fans were left heartbroken when George died suddenly on Christmas Day, 2016, but will be delighted to learn his voice will appear in large segments of the film. 

“Andrew did everything on his end that he could with materials that were in his possession”

“Simon [Halfon, executive producer] was able to source a lot of things from different people that [George] knew,” he added. “It was a collection of different sources and interviews that he knew that George had done over the years. 

“We were able to sort of pull those in, but all of Andrews interviews were done recently.”

WHAM! premieres globally on Netflix today (5 July).