“Proud Mary” singer and songwriter John Fogerty isn’t too proud that there’s a new movie using his popular song’s title.
On Thursday, the musician spoke out on Twitter against Proud Mary, the film starring Taraji P. Henson as an assassin named Mary. According to Fogerty, that’s all he knows about the project, which opens in theaters on Friday.
“It irks me when people seek to capitalize on the popularity of my music and the good will it has earned with the public for their own financial gain,” he wrote. “Over the years, I have often found myself directly opposed to these uses. This movie has nothing to do with me, or my song. They simply picked the title and wrote a completely fictitious story around it.”
Written by Fogerty and originally performed by his band Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Proud Mary” peaked at No. 2 on the 1969 Billboard charts. The song has frequently been covered by high-profile artists, including Ike & Tina Turner, and has appeared in movies and TV shows, like Glee.
“No one ever asked me about using my song this way, or even about the meaning of ‘Proud Mary,'” Fogerty continued. “The movie poster has my lyrics changed to read… ‘killing for the Man every night and day.’ I wrote the song about a mythical riverboat, cruising on a mythical river, in a mythical time… It was obviously a metaphor about leaving painful, stressful things behind for a more tranquil and meaningful life. Far from a story about killing people for money.”
“We would love Mr. Fogerty to come see the film,” Screen Gems, which produced and distributed the film, said in a statement to EW. “He would see that his complaint that the film has nothing to do with the song’s message as ‘a metaphor about leaving painful, stressful things behind for a more tranquil and meaningful life’ is inaccurate. That is precisely what our Mary is looking to do, and Taraji nails it perfectly.”