Bio-pics based on the lives of popular musicians are typically either light on facts (Great Balls of Fire!), light on quality (Beyond the Sea), or both (Cadillac Records) so when I hear about a possible Joe Strummer bio-pic I am filled with trepidation.
Don’t get me wrong, Strummer’s story is compelling, and more than worthy of examination but it’s also still drying, still setting itself, and I worry about an uninformed project that paints him as some sort of anarchistic rocker, filling in the gaps with a killer soundtrack.
Julie Delpy (2 Nights in Paris) is set to helm the movie (with the right-now title, The Right Profile), and that does give me a measure of comfort, but her past work has been small scale and mostly intimate. Now, would a Strummer bio that eschews the typical, outsized nature of these projects be delightful? Of course, but I worry that she won’t have the freedom to pull it off.
See, and this is tragic really, but this is (like most films) being made as a commercial endeavor which means more hands in the kitchen, and as more people flood in, and they smell the blood and marketing dollars for a new Clash product the project risks its soul.
The Clash and Strummer are icons, more now than ever before quite possibly, and it’s all because of a new core of fans that know only their surface. People who list The Clash as their favorite band and wear a “London Calling” t-shirt but who couldn’t pick “(White Man) in Hammersmith Palais” out of a sonic lineup. They’re kids who think Fall Out Boy is the great punk band of the new millennium or neophytes who hopped aboard the bandwagon because of the incessant use of Clash music in films and TV shows.