With Beatles biopic, Oasis' Liam Gallagher will take a long and winding road
Brit-pop’s most iconic supergroup, Oasis has never been shy about its moist-eyed worship of the Beatles.
Brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher – respectively, Oasis’ frontman and chief songwriter -- have been widely panned for cribbing the Fab Four’s guitar solos, bass lines and piano parts in their songs; composing lyrics like “I’ll ride with you in your BMW/You can sail with me in my Yellow Submarine”; and they’ve been needled by no less than Paul McCartney for being so blatantly "derivative." Liam even went so far as to name his son Lennon. (It's worth noting that Noel is, as of last year, no longer part of the band...for now.)
So when the "Champagne Supernova" singer decided to take a stab at making movies, his first project (touted Friday in an exclusive in London’s Daily Mail) came as a surprise to precisely no one. Gallagher will announce at the Cannes Film Festival later this month that his first film as a producer is a biopic chronicling the Beatles’ 1967 to 1970 heyday, culminating in the group’s break-up.
The source material: Richard DiLello’s 1972 rock history, “The Longest Cocktail Party: An Insider’s Diary of the Beatles, Their Million Dollar Apple Empire and Its Wild Rise and Fall,” written by a self-described “house hippie” and former publicist for the group’s Apple Corps record label. DiLello was privy to all the stoned conversations and insane behavior surrounding the Beatles’ penultimate years together and the book is said to be a Gallagher brothers favorite, once described with characteristic Cockney brio by Noel as “[expletive] brilliant.”
Produced in conjunction with Revolution Films (prolific British filmmaker Michael Winterbottom’s U.K. production company), the announcement of Gallagher’s as-yet untitled movie arrives on the heels of first-time filmmaker Sam Taylor Wood’s John Lennon biopic “Nowhere Boy,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival but never landed Stateside distribution and faded from global cineplex screens having earned a meager $2.5 million.
Of course, to make a proper Beatles biopic, it stands to reason that Gallagher will need no small amount of Fab Four music -- the licensing for which is controlled by the Sony/ATV catalog, a massive trove of hit music co-owned by the estate of Michael Jackson. The King of Pop famously outbid McCartney to acquire the publishing rights to the Beatles’ music in 1985 for $47.5 million.
It might all seem, as McCartney says, "derivative," but if Liam could bring some of the same showmanship and energy to his filmic imitations of the Beatles that he does in his musical efforts, we could be in for an entertaining, um, magical mystery tour.In the meantime, let the parlor games about future casting begin! Sam Worthington as Paul? Cillian Murphy as John? James Franco as Ringo?
-- Chris Lee
Photos: The Beatles. Credit: Apple Corps; Liam Gallagher. Credit: David Fitzgerald
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