Johnny Depp is teaming up with documentary director Julien Temple on doc-biopic Shane about legendary Irish singer Shane MacGowan. HanWay is launching world sales at the EFM and will screen first footage.
The film will deep dive on the tortured Irish vocalist, best known as the lead singer and songwriter of Celtic punk band the Pogues and for his renditions of “Fairytale Of New York” and “Dirty Old Town.” It will combine animation, unseen footage from Temple’s own archives and contributions from collaborators and his own family. The film will culminate in MacGowan’s 50th birthday celebration where singers, movie stars and rock ’n’ roll outlaws gathered for a knees-up.
Welsh illustrator Ralph Steadman, well known for his collaborations with American writer Hunter S. Thompson, is providing artworks for animator Jonny Halifax (All Tomorrow’s Parties) to bring to life.
Temple will produce through Nitrate Film together with Depp and Stephen Deuters (Minamata) through Depp’s production label Infinitum Nihil and Stephen Malit (London: The Modern Babylon). Altitude Films will distribute the film in the UK and Ireland, and it will be broadcast on BBC Four at a later date.
Depp presents the movie in association with BBC Music, Warner Music Entertainment and HanWay Films, a Nitrate Film and Infinitum Nihil Production of a Julien Temple Film. Jan Younghusband, Head of Music Commissioning, is executive producer for BBC Music, Steven Lappin for Warner Music Entertainment together with Jeremy Thomas of Recorded Picture Company, Gerry O’Boyle, Manish Patel and Sam Sarkar. Victoria Clarke is associate producer.
Depp noted, “Knowing Shane for 30 years, I am honored to be producing the definitive film on both my friend and one of the most important artists and beloved poets of the 20th century.”
Temple commented: “It’s not the easiest thing to make a film about Shane MacGowan. The nearest thing I can think of is one of those David Attenborough films. You set the camera traps. You wait and you wait, in the hope that one day the snow leopard will trigger them. Then when you do actually capture the unique force of Shane’s personality, even for a moment onscreen, you realize it was all worthwhile.”
HanWay Films MD Gabrielle Stewart added: “Shane had a dream to bring Irish music to the next generation and to the world. In that he was truly successful and a purpose very much full-filled. Woven into his documentary Temple movingly manages to bring Shane’s lyrics to life and connects you to the man who has encapsulated the soul of the Irish worldwide.”