EXCLUSIVE: Paul McCartney’s incredible creative output in the decade after he left The Beatles will come into focus in Man on the Run (working title), a documentary to be directed by Oscar and Grammy winner Morgan Neville.
MPL and Polygram Entertainment – the film and television unit of Universal Music Group – announced the project today, a day before the 65th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles. The feature film will explore “Paul McCartney’s extraordinary life following the breakup of The Beatles and how the love he shared with Linda McCartney influenced a journey that would lead to the formation of Wings and more of the greatest music ever created.”
Neville, whose directing credits include 20 Feet From Stardom, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, and Roadrunner: An Anthony Bourdain Movie, has been granted access to never-before-seen home videos and photos from the archives of McCartney and his late wife, Linda. The archival material will be combined with fresh interviews, allowing for a first-of-its-kind exploration of a period in McCartney’s life when he came out with a succession of hits, including “Maybe I’m Amazed,” “Another Day,” “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey,” “Hi, Hi, Hi,” “My Love,” “Live And Let Die,” “Band On The Run,” “Jet,” “Junior’s Farm,” “Listen To What The Man Said,” “Silly Love Songs,” “Let ‘Em In,” “Mull Of Kintyre,” “With A Little Luck,” “Goodnight Tonight” among many others.
“As a lifelong obsessive of all things McCartney, I’ve always felt that the 1970s were the great under-examined part of his story,” Neville said in a statement. “I’m thrilled to have the chance to explore and reappraise this crucial moment in a great artist’s life and work.”
According to a release about the project, “Man on the Run begins with Paul McCartney navigating the aftermath of the break-up of The Beatles, facing down myriad challenges while creating new music that would ultimately become the defining soundtrack of a new decade… The documentary chronicles the arc of Paul’s peerless solo career: From the one-man-band lo-fi recording prototype of his self-titled solo debut, to the pastoral bliss of RAM, to the formation of Wings and its classic albums including Band On The Run, Venus And Mars, At The Speed Of Sound, Wings Over America, London Town and more. The result is an intimate and personal behind the scenes account of how Paul progressed from The Beatles’ 1966 retirement from live concerts to the Wings tours that would set the standard for 1970s arena rock shows.”
The release adds, “It’s a unique and in-depth look into a crucial period in the singular life of one of history’s most important recording artists, songwriters and performers.”
The documentary is fully financed by MPL & Polygram Entertainment and presented and produced by MPL, Polygram Entertainment and Neville’s Tremolo Productions. The film is being produced by Michele Anthony, David Blackman, Neville, Caitrin Rogers, and Scott Rodger and Ben Chappell from MPL.
“At its heart, this is a story of Linda and Paul’s enduring love and an artist finding his own voice after being in the most historic music group ever,” Anthony said. “Our film traces one of the most incredibly creative periods of Paul’s life which spawned a vital and legendary body of work that continues to impact people and culture in every corner of the globe. We are honored to present this story with unprecedented access to a treasure trove of material from Paul and Linda’s personal archive.”
Polygram Entertainment recent projects include Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues from director Sacha Jenkins; Todd Haynes’ The Velvet Underground; Frank Marshall’s The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart; Beastie Boys Story from director Spike Jonze; Alison Ellwood’s The Go-Go’s; Pavarotti from director Ron Howard; Roger Ross Williams’ The Apollo; the Emmy Award-winning series Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist and the subsequent TV film Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas.
Upcoming Polygram projects include Love to Love You, Donna Summer, a feature documentary about Donna Summer directed by Roger Ross Williams and Summer’s daughter, Brooklyn Sudano, which is set to premiere at the Berlin Film Festival later this month. Additional projects include the docuseries James Brown: Say It Loud; scripted features about KISS and The Osbournes; a docuseries about the legendary Memphis-based record label STAX; and a new series based on the life of Frank Sinatra.
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