Seems like it’s pretty often these days to see albums turned into stage musicals, and/or stage musicals turned into musical movies. It’s less often the pattern jumps from album to musical movie, but it someone had to do it. And that someone is this guy:
And by that I mean Bobcat Goldthwaite, set to write and direct Schoolboys in Disgrace based on The Kinks 1976 LP of the same name – an album without any hit singles that peaked at No. 45 on the Billboard 200 when it was released. No classic song for us to spend the entire movie waiting to hear? BLASPHEMY.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Goldthwaite is quoted:
“Schoolboys in Disgrace is a story that any kid who has felt that they are not being treated fairly can relate to, all set to some of the greatest rock songs you’ll ever hear…It’s the genesis story of a supervillain set to music. It’s the story of the world’s most charming criminal and a realistic high school musical for all the kids who hate sugary, sweet, unrealistic high school musicals.”
…which was apparently pretty much how he won over Ray Davies – Kinks frontman and writer of all the songs on the album – as well as an executive producer of the movie. From Goldthwaite’s Guest DJ Set on KCRW last October before the project was confirmed:
“Ray was asking, “Well, who would you make this movie for, if you made a musical of Schoolboys in Disgrace? And I said, “I would make this movie for all the kids who f**king hate High School Musical.” And then I actually saw him smile a little bit.”
Now as much as I not-so-secretly love High School Musical, that’s an attitude I can get behind. Honestly though, my first question when I heard about this was, “The Kinks know about this, right?” I mean, it makes immediate sense that the ABBA folks would be like, “YAY MUSICAL THEATRE!” but a seminal band out of the 1960’s British Invasion? I have to admit my knowledge of The Kinks was limited to one album on vinyl and a love for the use of “Village Green Preservation Society” in Hot Fuzz. So I did some reading.
It turns out storytelling through music is a trademark of their style – Davies created a reputation for concept albums, including Schoolboys in Disgrace (actually fashioned as a prequel to their earlier albums Preservation Act 1 and Preservation Act 2). Check out the album’s liner notes:
Once upon a time there was a naughty little schoolboy. He and his gang were always playing tricks on the teachers and bullying other children in the school. One day he got himself into very serious trouble with a naughty schoolgirl and he was sent to the Headmaster who decided to disgrace the naughty boy and his gang in front of the whole school.
After this punishment the boy turned into a hard and bitter character. Perhaps it was not the punishment that changed him but the fact that he realised people in authority would always be there to kick him down and the Establishment would always put him in his place. He knew that he could not change the past but he vowed that in the future he would always get what he wanted. The naughty little boy grew up… into Mr. Flash. (via BroadwayWorld.com)
So adding a book to the music doesn’t really seem that far off. Other than Davies producers include: duo Howard Gertler and Tim Perell (Last Chance Harvey, World’s Greatest Dad – another Goldthwaite directed flick), Sarah de Sa Rego and Andrew D. Tenenbaum. The project is currently in development. No release date is set.
Stage to screen adaptations most often fail because filmmakers get too attached to the original production. Staging is flat, clunky and well – too theatrical for the medium. Without any middle ground however, I have to say I’m interested to see how the album to screen translation works out.
Now, let’s please hope this dies.
The Kinks “The Hard Way” from Schoolboys in Disgrace
The Kinks – The Hard Way by tadpole of july