15 Beautiful Women, As Chosen by the Drummer for Talking Heads
And you may find yourself…feeling the beat of classic beauty courtesy of rocker Chris Frantz.
If you’re familiar with Chris Frantz, odds are you know him best as the drummer for Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club, both of which he co-founded with his wife and longtime musical collaborator, Tina Weymouth. (Look for the duo’s electronica project, Chris Und Tina, coming soon). But Frantz is also something of an aficionado of classic beauty. For several years he has been regularly sharing his “Beautiful Women” series of iconic pin-ups on Facebook. Maxim asked Frantz to curate a list of his favorites, and he kindly obliged during a phone interview, even including personal anecdotes when appropriate. Let’s start making sense of Chris Frantz’s 15 favorite pin-ups of all time.
“We spend a lot of time in France because Tina’s mother is from there. So about three years ago I was watching a DVD about Serge Gainsbourg, A Heroic Life. It’s a really good movie if you haven’t seen it. The actress that played Brigitte Bardot was Laetetia Casta. I was really impressed with not just her acting but with the way she carried herself and the way she channeled Bardot. I started Googling images of her, I thought, ‘I’m gonna put this on my Facebook page and see what happens.’ I said “Beautiful Woman: This is Laetetia Casta.” Little bells started going off: Bing! Bing! Bing! People love pictures of kittens and puppies and, guess what, they also love pictures of beautiful women. I try not do overdo it because I don’t want people to think that’s all I care about…but I do care about beautiful women. Incidentally, my wife also thinks it’s very entertaining and fun, so I have her approval.”
“It’s a funny story: when we were starting Talking Heads we didn’t have a name for the band yet. This was before Blondie, and Debbie was in a band called The Stilettoes. It was 1974, in the very early days of CBGB. I saw her singing and thought, ‘Oh, my God, this girl is gonna be a star.’ I screwed up my courage and walked up to her after the show with David Byrne standing behind me, like fidgeting, and said, ‘David and I are starting a band and we’re looking for a singer.’ Because we were! It was not written in stone that David was going to be the singer or the front person at that point. She looked at me, and she looked at David, and she said, ‘I’ve already got a band. But you can buy me a drink.’ And we’ve been friends ever since.”
“I was aware of her before Blue is the Warmest Color, but that kind of confirmed her virtues for me. I think the first thing I saw her in was in Inglorious Bastards. She had a very small part in the beginning, hiding under the floorboards. I saw her in the French magazines. She was modeling for American Apparel. I thought, ‘Wow.’ She’s got that sultry, kind of pissed off look. But then when she finally does smile, you’re like “Oh, man.” And of course she’s in the new James Bond movie. “
“Monica Bellucci is one of the most beautiful women in the world. The world is full of beautiful women, but not all of them are in magazines are in movies, so we don’t get to see them. But we do get to see Monica. I even have a coffee table book of photographs of her. She’s just a gift.”
“What I love are the photos taken of her by Helmut Newton. There’s a famous one of her sitting on a table in the nude, her back to the camera with a glass of wine by her side. I loved her in Swimming Pool, most recently. She’s in a lot of French films. I like her in any context. She’s not only super attractive in that WASP-y way, but she’s also really bright and sharp. You can almost feel her intelligence coming through in still photos.”
“She’s someone that when I was growing up, her and Marilyn Monroe were the sex goddesses. They’re both undeniably photogenic. They just know how to turn it on for the camera. I notice when I post on Facebook, lot of people especially French people, are unhappy with her politics as of late, but I try not to think about that. She may not be the world’s greatest actress, but there’s something unique unto herself that’s fabulous. Nobody else has it, only her.”
“There’s a lot of women of a certain age in this selection of mine. But I thought I should have some who are young and au courant. When I see a movie and she’s in it, like Birdman, I can’t take my eyes off Emma Stone. My eye just goes to her and stays there. I think we’re going to be seeing a lot from her for a very long time.”
“I like all photos of Diane Lane. She got a huge response when I posted her on Facebook. People love her, with good reason. She’s got a quality that sort of transcends fashion or whatever. No matter what age she is or what she’s wearing, always looks fantastic.”
“She’s just one of those kind of perfect looking women. She exuded class. She just raised the bar so high, she’s in a class by herself. Then of course she became Princess Grace. Her face and her whole physique is just artistically perfect.”
“She’s a trooper, man. The first movie I saw her in was a Truffaut movie called Day For Night. She’s got those beautiful eyes and freckles. She also had a naughty side that she never tried to hide from the public: she smoked, she drank, she carried on. So she was pretty cool.”
“She’s possibly one of my favorite models ever. I also like her records. She’s an older woman now. I went to see her a couple years ago and took Tina for her birthday in New York. She was just wonderful. There’s nobody else like Jane Birkin. I met her once at, of all places, an outdoor VIP tent at a Bruce Springsteen concert. I was absolutely tongue tied. She just giggled and walked away. But it was very lovely giggle. She doesn’t’ have any reservations about presenting herself to the camera. She’s completely happy to be there.”
“She’s pretty timeless. I first became infatuated with her when I saw Boogie Nights. She was so great in it, and continues to be great in everything she does. And she’s a redhead and she’s got freckles and she’s just a fine figure of a woman and of course multi talented. All of these women are multi-talented.”
“She’s still amazing to this day but this particular photo, OMG. She’s always looked good.”
“She’s a lovely person. We’ve met. Talk about cultured! She reads, she knows philosophy, she knows music of all types, she’s really got it all. I’ve followed her since “As Tears Go By”, in 1964. She survived being a very bad heroin addict. I think she lives in Paris now, goes between there and Ireland. We went backstage at one of her shows and she was so nice. She’s really just a cool chick.”
“She’s French, and has a fashion line. She did this t-shirt that said “Bad Ass” that I saw on Instagram and I was like, ‘Whoah! Badass!” That’s what caught my attention. She also did a video for Chris Und Tina, the new thing we’re doing, for a song called “Incognito.” Her sister Isabella filmed it. She’s on Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook. She’s super hot. Always has a cigarette. She has a naughty side but she’s also creative and very artistic.”
At this point, talk turned to music. Talking Heads broke up in 1991. Tom Tom Club (best known for the classic club jam “Genius of Love”) is on hiatus. Chris Und Tina are currently recording tracks the couple’s home studio in Connecticut. “With Tom Tom Club, people expect a certain bouncy music thing,” Frantz said. “But we don’t always feel that way. Chris Und Tina is inspired by Kraftwerk, who we’ve always loved. It won’t sound like them, but it will be sort of chilled out and electronic.”
So will there ever be a Talking Heads reunion? “Tina and I both feel that it’s a pity that it didn’t continue,” Frantz says of the pioneering band. “We would welcome a reunion. We’ve been waiting a long time for that to happen. It probably won’t happen, but if it did we’d be right there, and I know Jerry [Harrison] would, too. David is the only person that doesn’t want to do it. We only speak by email, that’s his preferred method of communication. But we’re not holding our breath, we’re just getting on with our lives.”
Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin: CSFF/RDA/Getty Images; Latetia Casta: Evan Agostini/Liaison; Debbie Harry: GAB Archive/Redferns; Lea Seydoux: Ad Vitam Distribution/Everett Collection; Monica Bellucci: Andrea Blanch/Getty; Charlotte Rampling: Ullstein Bild/Getty; Brigitte Bardot: Narique Meneses/REX USA; Emma Stone: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty; Diane Lane: Moviestore Collection/REX USA; Grace Kelly: RDA/Hulton Archive/Getty; Jacqueline Bisset: Terry O’Neil/Getty; Jane Birkin: Joseph McKeown/Getty; Julianne Moore: Everett Collection; Sophia Loren: Diltz/RDA/Getty; Marianne Faithful: Terry O’Neill/Getty.