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Rock photog finds Joy at biopic helm

Corbijn will direct singer Curtis' story for Claraflora

NEW YORK — Acclaimed rock ‘n’ roll shutterbug Anton Corbijn has signed to helm a feature biopic of Joy Division lead singer Ian Curtis, based on the biography “Touching From a Distance.”

Pic is being produced through Orian Williams and Todd Eckert’s Claraflora label, with Curtis’ widow, Deborah Curtis, co-producing with one-time Joy Division manager Tony Wilson.

Pic’s producers are eyeing a fall start in Manchester, England.

Wilson was the subject of U.K. helmer Michael Winterbottom’s 2002 biopic “24 Hour Party People,” in which he was portrayed by U.K. funnyman Steve Coogan.

Claraflora optioned the Curtis book from publisher Faber & Faber last year.

Corbijn’s helming credits include videos for U2 and Depeche Mode, among others. He’s also known for photographing music icons such as U2, the late Miles Davis, R.E.M., David Bowie and Elvis Costello.

“(Corbijn) is an iconic photographer of musicians and celebrities. He has bridged the gap (between music and film),” said Claraflora’s Williams. “This film is going to touch on (Curtis’) life, his life with Debbie and his life with his daughter. It’s not your typical biopic. It gives you some sort of understanding of who (Curtis) was.”

Williams — who recently produced Donal Logue’s “Tennis Anyone?” — said only about an hour of archival footage exists of enigmatic cult hero Curtis performing with Joy Division, which has led to so much speculation about his brief life.

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