Friday, September 30, 2005

Mike Myers As Keith Moon

This project has been rumored to be in the works for years, with people like Mel Gibson and Robert De Niro producing, but now it looks like it's finally official: Mike Myers will play Who drummer Keith Moon in a biopic co-produced by Roger Daltrey.

From a physical resemblance standpoint, I can definitely see Mike Myers as Keith Moon. My only fear, which I hope will prove to be unfounded, is that historically, Mike Myers with a British accent = pure schtick. If the movie is going to work, it's going to need to focus on the sadness behind all of Keith's wild antics, his obsessive desire to impress and cause a scene in any situation, his insecurity as the drummer of the Who, and the results of his destructive behavior on the people around him who loved him: his bandmates, his wife, his daughter.

Tony Fletcher, author of the Keith Moon biography "Dear Boy," wrote the following in February 2002 on his website. It confirms that Roger's vision of Keith's story is similar to what I wrote above.

I've been getting a lot of e-mails and phone calls recently about the supposed Keith Moon movie. A story made its way into the British tabloid the Sun on Friday Feb 8 it which it was claimed that Roger Daltrey had auditioned Mike Myers for the role of Keith Moon in his proposed biopic. "Mike is a genius," Daltrey was quoted as saying. "I can really see him as Keith. I went to some of the filming of his new Austin Powers film and it's hysterical. He's amazing when you meet him, so clever."

That same day, Mike Myers denied through his spokeswoman that he had auditioned. Daltrey, it was claimed, had only visited him on set.

But by then the story was out and doing the news rounds. Meantime, a lot of people have been getting in touch asking what this all has to do with me. The answer is very simple: absolutely nothing.

Roger Daltrey has been talking about a Keith Moon movie for well over ten years. He was talking about it a long time before I started doing the Keith Moon book, he was talking about it while I was doing the Keith Moon book - it was the main reason he gave not to take part in my biography, that my research would conflict with his project - and he was talking about it after I completed the Keith Moon book. Indeed, he called me before the book came out and in the middle of a strange conversation in which he alternately criticised and praised my biography, he asked me to hold publication of the book for six months, after which time he assured me there would be a Keith Moon movie on the screens that I would be able to better tie in publication with. That was 1997. It's now 2002. I can't say that his Keith Moon movie is not getting made - I know he has financed various scripts with his own money - but I can say it hasn't yet gone into anything close to production. Along the way, Daltrey has occasionally bad-mouthed my Keith Moon biography in public, which I think is a shame. I recognise that Roger loved Keith greatly, and I can understand why he might feel he has a more accurate and sympathetic view of Keith than does a biographer, but of course I stand by the quality of my book, and I regret that Roger doesn't agree with the many thousands of Who fans who feel that it told Keith's story with love and integrity.

Having stated all of the above, I think it is clear that if Roger Daltrey does get to make a movie on Keith's life, it will not be based on my biography. It will be based on Roger's own memories of Keith's life.

To complicate matters, there had been another movie in the works. Around the end of 1995, just as I was starting research on 'Dear Boy,' Robert de Niro's company Tribeca bought the rights to Dougal Butler's book Full Moon and set about planning to make a 'buddy movie' based on the two mens' escapades. To this end, they had Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais ('Auf Wiedersehn Pet,' 'The Commitments,' 'Still Crazy') write a script, which I have not seen. This movie got held up, possibly even waylaid, when Pete Townshend refused Tribeca permission to use Who songs; by 1996, once the Who had gotten back together, then to my understanding Daltrey leaned hard on Townshend to ensure that the only person who would get permission to use Who songs in a Keith Moon movie would be Daltrey himself. Roger was particularly put out by his feeling that Tribeca's movie would simply trivialise Keith's life and has always claimed that his own movie will concentrate on the real Keith, the sad Keith, the tormented Keith.

Those of us who have any opinion in the matter have often suggested that if anyone was to play Keith Moon in a movie it should be Jason Schwartzman, who was introduced to many a sixties rock fan when he starred in Rushmore. Jason not only looks like Keith, but is a massive Who fan and apparently an accomplished drummer to boot. Given that he can play straight and play comedy, he would seem to be the ideal candidate.

Taking all the above into account, it's maybe no surprise that my Keith Moon biography has not been successfully optioned for a movie. When film-makers get in touch - and they have done - they find out that both Robert de Niro and Roger Daltrey have been trying to get films made and consider that if neither of these titans have succeeded, their own chances are pretty slim. It's hard for me to blame them. Then again, I didn't write the book for it to be made into a movie: I wrote the book for people to read the book and so I don't lose any sleep over any of this.

He's right on the money about Jason Schwartzman. I was going to post comparison pictures, but somebody on the 'net did it already:

I think he particularly looks like Keith in this photo:


At 9/30/2005 2:25 PM, Anonymous Jessica said...

I don't know about all that other useless gossip, but by pure looks and acting background, Jason Schwartzman would be a better choice - I have to agree. Plus, his name is Jason!

At 10/08/2005 3:24 AM, Blogger Seychelle said...

I would have gone with Jason... he has a depth and soul behind those eyes. But then Mike Myers is box office gold and, who knows, this could be Mike's breakthrough movie kind of like Jim Carrey's 'Man on the "Keith" Moon'. He does have the talent to pull it off.
Can't wait to see it anyway.


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