A24 Boards ‘I Want My MTV’ Movie With James Ponsoldt

James Ponsoldt I Want My MTV
Jim Smeal/BEI/REX/Shutterstock

A24 is developing a movie based on Rob Tannenbaum and Craig Marks’ book “I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution.”

The company will re-team with director James Ponsoldt for the third time following collaborations on “The Spectacular Now” and “The End of the Tour. Ponsoldt will write, produce and direct the narrative feature.

A24, which optioned film rights, will produce alongside frequent collaborator Eva Maria Daniels of VisionChaos Productions.


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“I Want My MTV” chronicles the founding and first ten years of the network, which started as a channel showcasing videos from obscure British bands but soon transformed into a cultural sensation.

The book follows the young group that built the company and ushered it into a global phenomenon that influenced everything from movies, music and television to fashion, sports and politics. The film will weave the book’s testimonials into its narrative.

“As a child of the 1980’s, MTV had a massive impact on me, and I’m so excited to again be working with my friends at A24 in exploring the storied early years of the groundbreaking channel,” Ponsoldt said.

The book’s title was derived from the tagline of a marketing campaign launched in 1981 by the channel to encourage cable subscribers to request the channel on their cable TV lineup. Marks and Tannenbaum interviewed 400 artists, directors and staff of MTV for the book, published in 2011 by Dutton Penguin in the United States.

The phrase “I Want My MTV” was also memorialized in the “Money for Nothing” single by British rock band Dire Straits as a falsetto introduction and backing chorus. The video of the song was the first to be aired on MTV Europe when the network launched in 1987.

Ponsoldt is repped by UTA, Brillstein Partners and Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz. The deal for the book was negotiated by ICM Partners on behalf of PJ Mark at Janklow & Nesbit Associates. Bethany Haynes at Sloss Eckhouse represented VisionChaos.

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