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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Biting Tongues

In the grey days of late 1970s post-punk Manchester, youth culture was a serious affair: every musical performance was measured mostly by the conviction of its delivery. The term 'New Wave' opened up free vistas where acquired skills could once again be exercised after punk's monochrome blur. It could be applied to anything from a James 'Blood' Ulmer record to the latest Throbbing Gristle release, Magazine to Swell Maps. Move outside that terrain into Sun Ra, Parliament, Frank Sinatra and Martin Denny, and your options were suddenly without limit...

Then came Tony Wilson's Factory Club (at the Russell Club in Hulme) offering an open invitation to experiment that was taken up when Ken Hollings, Howard Walmsley, Eddie Sherwood and a few others decided to make some noise to accompany their 16mm silent epic Biting Tongues. A further performance followed a few weeks later, when Colin Seddon and Graham Massey disbanded their Post Natals project and joined up. The film itself, a flashing series of negative images, became a memory; the name remained.

- extract from the LTM Biting Tongues biography

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