By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com May 12, 2011 at 5:40AM
Update: A representative from William Morris Endeavor has told us that Screen Daily's report was incorrect, and that Jack White is in no way involved with the project. Well, there we go.
Going from a star of the "Police Academy" franchise to acclaimed director of darker-than-dark indie comedies might not be the single strangest career path we've ever come across, but it's up there. But that's the route that Bobcat Goldthwait's taken. The stand-up-turned-actor-turned-prolific-voice-over-artist helmed his first film, "Shakes The Clown," in 1992, and has since mined similarly dark territory with dog-handjob comedy-drama "Sleeping Dogs Lie" and the excellent Robin Williams picture "World's Greatest Dad."
The latter in particular marked a big step up for the director, and ever since he's had a number of ambitious projects circulating, including an "ass-kicking" Western, "Rio Malo" and, more recently, "God Bless America," about a couple driven on a murder-spree by vacuous TV shows like "My Super Sweet 16." By far the most interesting, however, was his mooted plan to turn "Schoolboys in Disgrace," the 1976 album by seminal British band The Kinks, into a movie musical, a project that Goldthwait described as "the genesis story of a supervillain set to music. It's the story of the world's most charming criminal and a realistic high school musical for all the kids who hate sugary, sweet, unrealistic high school musicals."
Word's been quiet on the project for over a year, so we'd assumed it had passed into pipe dream land, but it's now popped its head above water again, in an article from ScreenDaily that suggests that one of the world's biggest rock stars is close to coming on board to help with the soundtrack. The trade reports that British outlet Warp Films, behind the likes of "This Is England" and "Submarine," are teaming with producers Howard Gertler ("Shortbus") and Tim Perell ("Last Chance Harvey") to help finance the film, and that frontman of the late, lamented band The White Stripes, Jack White, is in talks to "help re-record the music."
We assume that this means that White is going to take a T-Bone Burnett-style role and produce the new versions of songs like "The First Time We Fall In Love" and "No Looking Back," rather than singing on them himself, but we wouldn't necessarily count out a cameo, White having made acting appearances in "Cold Mountain" and "Walk Hard." Whatever he ends up doing on the project, it seems that it's got the blessing of Kinks frontman Ray Davies: the music legend is serving as executive producer on the film.
We're extremely glad this one's moving forward -- knowing Goldthwait, it's likely to come in closer to "Tommy" than to "Across The Universe." The biggest question is when it gets going -- it's only a couple of months since the writer-director said that "God Bless America" was his next project, and it seems as though some financing is still being sought, possibly from German companies. But White's presence suggests that there is forward momentum, and we can only hope that continues.