Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pink Floyd movie in the works

A new Pink Floyd-related movie is in the works. reports Andy Harries, producer of “The Queen” and “The Damned United,” is planning a movie based around the Pink Floyd track “Another Brick In the Wall.”

But it’s not a remake of Alan Parker’s Pink Floyd movie “The Wall.”

Rather, it tells the true story of the schoolchildren who sang on the 1979 number one and their maverick music teacher.

The producer has optioned the life story of music teacher Alun Renshaw, who arrived at a struggling north London comprehensive (public) school in the late 70s, determined to shake things up.

His class eventually ended up singing the chorus on the Pink Floyd track – whose controversial lyrics, flicking a V-sign at authority, end up getting Renshaw fired.

Pink Floyd’s management first approached Renshaw, Islington Green’s music teacher, to borrow a school choir. Mr Renshaw took the class to Britannia Row studios without the permission of head teacher Margaret Maden, who described him as “somewhat anarchic.”

“We practised around the piano at school, then recorded it,” said Renshaw in 2004. “I sort of mentioned it to the head teacher but didn’t give her the lyrics.”

The session was recorded without the permission of the headmistress, who promptly banned the teenagers from appearing in the media in relation to the song, when she heard it. The teenagers were initially thrilled to have the opportunity to sing on the track, but were reportedly disappointed to see other children from an acting school lip-synching to their vocals on the video of the song, and the BBC’s "Top Of The Pops" TV show.

The Inner London Education Authority called the lyrics “scandalous," and the song was banned in South Africa, where it was blamed for inciting riots among pupils. Ms Maden now says that “it was part of a rich musical education.”

Though the school received a lump sum payment of £1000, there was no contractual arrangement for royalties from record sales. The children were given copies of the album but remained unpaid and anonymous for years.

A change in copyright law in 1996 meant that the former choirboys were entitled to payment as session musicians; in 2004, the 23 kids involved reconnected and lodged a claim for royalties with the Performing Artists' Media Rights Association. Royalties agent Peter Rowan, who traced choir members through the website Friends Reunited and other means, estimated that each student would be owed around £200.

Harries told Deadline that the movie will be “Dead Poets Society meets School of Rock.”

First-time writer Steve Thompson is writing the script for Left Bank and BBC Films.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves on this one: Harries admits he hasn’t got the rights to the song yet, and music licensing rights from the band are generally hard to come by, at best.

Stay tuned…

Pink Floyd – Another Brick In The Wall, Pt. 2 (1979)