Considering the way in which punk rock changed the music world so comprehensively, it's surprising that relatively few films have been made following the great bands of the era. There have been great documentaries, from "The Filth and the Fury" to Ramones doc "End of a Century" and "Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten," and a handful of dramatic features -- "Sid and Nancy" and "SLC Punk," while both flawed, have much to recommend them. But for the most part, the genre has produced films closer to the terrible Ian Dury biopic "Sex & Drugs & Rock and Roll" than to anything else.
But things may be turning around. There's a Joe Strummer biopic in the works, for example and now word's come in that a biopic is being planned of one of the key figures in the Northern Irish punk scene of the 1970s. CineEuropa report that "Good Vibrations," which will focus on Belfast music legend Terri Hooley, is gearing up for production in the city in August. Hooley founded the Good Vibrations record store on Belfast's Great Victoria Street, from which a record label sprung, with bands like The Moondogs, The Shapes, Protex, The Outcasts and, most notably, The Undertones, whose song "Teenage Kicks" became the all-time favorite song of legendary British radio DJ John Peel, and one of the most seminal tracks of the era (listen below).
An impressive selection of Northern Irish talent has been assembled for the production -- Glenn Leyburn and Lisa Barros D'Sa, who helmed last year's decent Rupert Grint-starring coming-of-age tale "Cherrybomb," are directing, from a script by Glenn Patterson and Colin Carberry, while Michael Winterbottom's producing partner Andrew Eaton is serving as executive producer on the film. Theatre veteran Richard Dormer ("Five Minutes To Heaven") will play Hooley, while, most excitingly, soon-to-be-A-lister Michael Fassbender will reunite with his "Hunger" co-star Liam Cunningham ("Clash of the Titans") on the project with both taking supporting roles in the film.
There's no word on which roles the pair will play -- Fassbender as The Undertones' frontman Feargal Sharkey, perhaps? The Belfast Telegraph also report that another Belfast native who's made it big in Hollywood -- namely musician David Holmes, who was behind the scores for the "Ocean's Eleven" trilogy, as well as the excellent score for the aforementioned "Hunger" -- will write the music for the film. All in all, it's a very promising line-up, and will hopefully serve as a sort of Northern Irish answer to the great "24 Hour Party People." Filming gets underway in Belfast in August, so we should start to see the film making the festival rounds later in 2012.