In between sold-out shows on the KISS farewell tour, bassist and co-founder Gene Simmons has set up a handful of fully financed pics in a bid to segue from rocking to producing.
Paramount already has greenlit the Simmons-produced “Neil Bogart Story” (Daily Variety, April 28) about the Casablanca Records impresario, and Simmons got his first producing credit on last year’s “Detroit Rock City.” But the fledgling Gene Simmons Co., which also has music and book arms, aims to transcend the KISS brand.
Front-burner film projects include:
- “Tennessee Waltz,” a thriller funded by Interlight about a down-and-out cop who goes to Nashville to pursue his brother’s killer and uncovers political intrigue. Budget is seen at about $35 million.
- “November Files,” also at Interlight, is another mid-budget thriller. Script is by Tim Bogart, son of Neil Bogart and a producer on “The Neil Bogart Story.” Helmer Stuart Baird (“U.S. Marshals”) is said to be eyeing the pic.
- “Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll,” a comedy at Disney focusing on the relationship between a flamboyant rock star and the button-down cop assigned to protect him. Script is by Robbie Fox, who penned “So I Married an Axe Murderer.”
- “My Generation,” based on the book of the same name by Michael Gross, a senior editor at George magazine. Gross describes it as “the life and times of the Baby Boom, a Studs Terkel-y kind of book” about 20 Boomers, some famous and some not.
Simmons does not have a studio deal and does not foresee one, preferring to handle each project individually.
“It’s easier without overhead,” he reasoned. “I get things done by picking up the phone.”