EXCLUSIVE: “I’ve got a feeling,” goes the Pogues’ classic song “Fairytale of New York,” “this year’s for me and you.”
It might well be a good year indeed for the former frontman of the Celtic punk band as Magnolia Pictures have picked up the North American rights to the Johnny Depp-produced documentary Crock of Gold – A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan.
First put out to market earlier this year at the European Film Market, the Julien Temple-directed look at the hard-living English-born poet was acquired by Magnolia after a bit of bidding war, I hear. From Temple’s Nitrate Film, Depp’s Infinitum Nihil and Stephen Malit, the deal was closed by Magnolia EVP Dori Begley and SVP Acquisitions John Von Thaden, and by HanWay Films on behalf of the filmmakers.
HanWay Films has worldwide sales rights on the project. Altitude Films will distribute the film in the UK and Ireland, with Crock of Gold to be aired on BBC Four. The illustrious Ralph Steadman provides animation on the film.
Over on this side of the Atlantic, Magnolia is planning a theatrical release of Crock of Gold later this year.
“We here at Magnolia are very excited to bring audiences this film about a true icon, Shane MacGowan, directed by another icon, Julien Temple,” Magnolia president Eamonn Bowles told Deadline. “This is something to hoist a pint of Guinness over,” he added, in no small reference to MacGowan’s once legendary ability to imbibe.
Having scored a global hit with the often tear-jerking “Fairytale of New York” back in 1987, the rollicking Pogues moved up from the clubs and pubs to the big leagues while losing none of the lyrical dexterity nor musical nimbleness that fueled them from their birth in London’s punk scene. MacGowan left soon after the release of the band’s 1990 Joe Strummer-produced album Hell’s Ditch.
The ex-Clash singer replaced MacGowan on the Pogues’ subsequent tour as the latter went on to start a solo career A solo career that included his good pal Pirates of the Caribbean star Depp appearing on MacGowan’s 1994 album The Snake.
Since then, MacGowan has rejoined the Pogues on and off during the early 2000s and put out a few more solo records and the autobiographical A Drink with Shane MacGowan with his now-wife Victoria Mary Clarke.
With several members of the Pogues, Depp and the likes of U2’s Bono, Nick Cave, Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie and Sex Pistols’ original bassist Glen Matlock plus Ireland’s president in attendance, MacGowan celebrated his 60th birthday at National Concert Hall in 2018. Featuring the now wheelchair-bound singer literally front and center, that event is the culmination in many ways of Temple’s Crock of Gold.
“Irascible, intractable, infuriating, fascinating, appalling, galling, bellicose, comatose, cantankerous, cadaverous, impossible, unstoppable – filming Shane is like flying through a radioactive rainbow but in the end there is an inner Crock of Gold waiting to be discovered by those who try hard enough,” says Temple of both making the project and its subject. “Hence the title of the film, taken from the old Irish legend of the same name,” The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle director adds.
Along with Temple, Depp and his Infinitum Nihil partner Stephen Deuters and Malit, the BBC Music, Warner Music Entertainment and HanWay Films project is also EP’d by Jan Younghusband, Head of Music Commissioning 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 Mary Clarke is associate producer on Crock of Gold.