News Column

Old days here we come: biographical film puts early life of Morrissey in the frame

May 9, 2014

Harriet Gibsone

A biopic about the early life of Morrissey, described as a love-letter to the former frontman of The Smiths, is under development, it was announced yesterday.

The Manchester-based production company Honlodge said the film aims to tell the story of Morrissey's years before his songwriting partnership with Johnny Marr and the rest of one of the defining bands of the 1980s. It is under the working title of Steven, Morrissey's real name.

"The film covers Morrissey's life pre-Smiths and is more of a portrait than a conventional biopic," according to director Mark Gill. "It's as much a film for non-Morrissey fans as it is for die-hard devotees, but I can't deny that this is a love letter to Steven Patrick Morrissey and the dark satanic mills of Manchester."

Both the film's producer - Orian Williams - and the casting director - Shaheen Baig - worked previously on Control, a biopic on the life of Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis, starring Sam Riley as the introverted, awkward singer and lyricist.

The screenplay for the Morrissey film is being written by Gill and author and scriptwriter William Thacker. According to a statement, the production is scheduled to start filming at the end of the year.

It has not been confirmed whether Morrissey has given his backing to the film. The singer last year released a memoir in which he tells his story from the start. "Naturally my birth almost kills my mother, for my head is too big," he writes, before divulging details of his childhood in inner-city Manchester in the 1960s, his teenage years as an unlikely sportsman, his time spent as a reviewer for music weekly Record Mirror under the name Sheridan Whiteside, and meeting Marr.

Insights included his lack of interest in girls as a teenager. "Girls remained mysteriously attracted to me," he writes, "and I had no idea why, since although each fumbling foray hit the target, nothing electrifying took place, and I turned a thousand corners without caring . . . "


Mark Gill

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Source: Guardian (UK)