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Arcade Fire Video Director Chris Milk & Megan Ellison To Turn Danger Mouse Album 'Rome' Into Movie

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist October 5, 2011 at 1:45AM

With music videos being the background of filmmakers as disparate as Spike Jonze and Michael Bay, it's always worth keeping an eye on who's coming up in that world, and a few months ago, we picked five who seemed the most likely to break out. One was Chris Milk, an artist who's combined more traditional clips for people like Kanye West and Modest Mouse with boundary-pushing interactive videos. That Arcade Fire clip from last year, the Google Chrome one for "We Used To Wait," where it showed your childhood home on Google Maps? That was him.
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With music videos being the background of filmmakers as disparate as Spike Jonze and Michael Bay, it's always worth keeping an eye on who's coming up in that world, and a few months ago, we picked five who seemed the most likely to break out. One was Chris Milk, an artist who's combined more traditional clips for people like Kanye West and Modest Mouse with boundary-pushing interactive videos. That Arcade Fire clip from last year, the Google Chrome one for "We Used To Wait," where it showed your childhood home on Google Maps? That was him.

At the time, he'd been signed to WME for feature work, but there was nothing on the horizon immediately in terms of a big-screen debut. That's just changed, however, as Variety report that Milk is attached to a new film that, as it turns out, is sort of an extension of his experimental music-tied work. The director was behind "3 Dreams Of Black," an interactive video that promoted "Rome," a record that teamed Gnarls Barkley/Beck producer Danger Mouse and Italian composer Daniele Luppi on an album of spaghetti Western homages, with vocal appearances by Jack White and Norah Jones, and the trade say that Milk is now working on a feature film inspired by the album.

Unusually, this seems to be a double adaptation: the record has inspired and 'underpins' the film, but the story, about a girl in a post-apocalyptic world, is an adaptation of Alden Bell's novel "The Reapers Saw The Angels," a much-praised science-fiction/horror book published in the summer. For a better idea of where we might be heading, the book's full synopsis is below:

God is a slick god. Temple knows. She knows because of all the crackerjack miracles still to be seen on this ruined globe...

Older than her years and completely alone, Temple is just trying to live one day at a time in a post-apocalyptic world, where the undead roam endlessly, and the remnant of mankind who have survived, at times, seem to retain little humanity themselves.
This is the world she was born into. Temple has known nothing else. Her journey takes her to far-flung places, to people struggling to maintain some semblance of civilization – and to those who have created a new world order for themselves.
When she comes across the helpless Maury, she attempts to set one thing right, if she can just get him back to his family in Texas then maybe it will bring redemption for some of the terrible things she's done in her past. Because Temple has had to fight to survive, has done things that she's not proud of and, along the road, she’s made enemies.

Now one vengeful man is determined that, in a world gone mad, killing her is the one thing that makes sense…

As if to reassure that this isn't going to be some kind of "Book of Eli"-type "Mad Max" knock-off, it's being backed by two of the more forward-thinking producers around: Anthony Bregman, who was behind "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and "Synecodche, New York," among others, and billionaire twentysomething Megan Ellison, who's become a hero to many film fans by financing new projects by John Hillcoat, Spike Jonze, Paul Thomas Anderson and Andrew Dominik through her Annapurna Pictures banner.

A statement from the pair suggested that the film is part of an ongoing multi-media project inspired by the record, noting "Chris Milk perhaps the most innovative creative voice working in any art form today, and the 'Rome' project criss-crosses at least a dozen of them, including music, animation, live performance, film, web, literature, music videos and graphic novels."

We were, to be honest, a little bored by the record when it hit earlier in the year, but the resulting movie sounds absolutely fascinating; with Milk at the helm, there's the potential here for something really special. There's no timeline on the film yet, and there doesn't appear to be a screenwriter hired yet, so it's likely a ways off, but this is certainly a picture we'll be keeping a very close eye on in the months to come.

This article is related to: Films, Musicians, Producers, Chris Milk, Rome, Danger Mouse, Megan Ellison, The Reapers Saw The Angels


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