February 21st, 2011
11:07 AM ET
A new Anna Nicole Smith opera has really hit a sour note with the late star's former boyfriend Larry Birkhead, who calls the show "trashy and tabloidy."
"Anna Nicole," currently playing to sold-out crowds at London's Royal Opera House, is billed as a "celebrity story of our times," according to the Hollywood Reporter, and includes sexual content, adult language and drug use.
Smith, who died of a prescription drug overdose in 2007, is portrayed in the show by soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek, who flashes her breasts and simulates explicit acts with a man in a wheelchair in some of the scenes.
"One day my daughter is going to see this trash," Birkhead said of 4-year-old Dannielynn, his daughter with Smith. "These aren't the images you want to relate to your child."
Birkhead, who hasn't actually seen the show, is equally upset that he was never consulted about the project.
"No one ever gave us a chance to respond," he said. "They didn't even ask to check whether history is correct. They could have picked up the phone and called... It is like someone took a bunch of tabloids and threw it at the producers and said, 'See what you can do with this.'"
For her part, Royal Opera House director Elaine Padmore stands by "Anna Nicole."
"The opera was inspired by a true story, some characters have been invented, some events imagined or changed," she said. "There are no images of the real Anna Nicole Smith in any aspect of the production or its marketing."
Birkhead, however, isn't having it. "We are looking at our legal options to see if they misused Anna's image and likeness," he said. "We are going to have the estate attorneys look at what can be done about it."
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