7 Jan 2005
Anton Corbijn to direct Ian Curtis biopic 
Details have just been announced about the long-awaited movie about Ian Curtis. Legendary photographer and film-maker Anton Corbijn will handle direction duties with Deborah Curtis and Tony Wilson co-producing alongside main producers Todd Eckert and Orian Williams. The script is being written by Matt Greenhalgh based on Deborah Curtis's book 'Touching From A Distance'.

The project has the working title 'Control' (which was Anton Corbijn's idea). The working title on imdb.com is 'These Days'.

No decision has yet been taken on who will play the lead role. Todd Eckert explained the that they are "in dialogue with certain actors that you know" and that there is a "universally open field". They have some "specific ideas" of what they want and "would love a local actor". The producers Eckert and Orian are the only Americans involved in the film. Todd also stated that certain actors have been suggested, but that Deborah Curtis has turned them down. He acknowledged that it is a difficult job as the lead actor has to satisfy all those involved, remaining members of Joy Division / New Order and everyone who knew him. No actors that have been approached have turned them down.

The film will be shot largely on location in Manchester with the possibility of some European locations.

Co-producer Tony Wilson said: "All music films are shite. The miracle of 24 Hour Party People was that it didn't go wrong. Todd and Orian are not the usual movie people fucking up music. Joy Division were NOT from Manchester.

Todd Eckert added: "The idea of Joy Division as the 'ultra dark experience' is totally false. It was all about energy. This is the job of the film." He said everybody wanted to convey the honesty that was contained in 'Touching From A Distance'.

Writer Matt Greenhalgh said that he was "Proud (to be involved) and that Ian Curtis was God. He knows that he has a lot to live up to and quipped that "It's best to have producers with American accents".

Producer Orian explained that it was his idea to do the film and that he has been awaiting Deborah and Natalie Curtis's trust.

Here is the rough production timetable:

Screenplay - end of February

Casting - March/April

Finance - Cannes in May

Pre-production - July

On the music side, Tony Wilson wants Moby still, but Moby is regarded as a 'pariah' by the producers. They are approaching various other bands to do cover versions of Joy Division tunes for inclusion in the film. They will be given a song and just 'a couple of days' to record it. No bands that have been approached have turned it down.

Other snippets that emerged included the revelation that Ian Curtis was a Manchester City fan. Wilson didn't know this but it was confirmed by Deborah Curtis. Wilson's glad of Corbijn's involvement as he can get revenge on Rob. For years Wilson thought everybody hated the Atmosphere video, but only found out last year that it was actually only Rob who hated it and that the rest 'loved it'. Malcolm McLaren has done a 'mix' of Joy Division's 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' and Captain & Tennille's 'Love Will Keep Us Together'. Wilson played it to the assembled at the press conference. Finally, Wilson maintains the favourite name for New Order (before New Order) was 'Happy Valley Dance Band'.

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A Certain Ratio

"Manchester, 1978. In the beginning there were four: Jez Kerr (bass), Martin Moscrop (guitar/trumpet), Peter Terrel (guitar/effects) and Simon Topping (vocals/trumpet). Four thin boys with a name borrowed from a Brian Eno record, the intense, drummerless quartet initially drew influence from Wire, Eno, the Velvets and Kraftwerk, and gained a manager in Anthony Wilson of Factory Records.

"May 1979 saw the release of their first ACR single, the dark All Night Party, although the sound and musicianship of the band would be transformed by the arrival of funky drummer Donald Johnson (DoJo) in August. Over the next few months the band gigged widely, often with Joy Division as part of Factory packages, and recorded demos with producer Martin Hannett as well as a Peel session. Their support slot with Talking Heads on their UK tour in December 1979 set David Byrne on a new course, and provided the compelling live half of their chic cassette package The Graveyard and the Ballroom. Post-punk, ACR now reflected the influence of Funkadelic, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, The Bar Kays and James Brown."

- intro to ACR Biography by James Nice (LTM)

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