“Who’s Next” is both the title of a classic rock album and the question du jour for director Brad Silberling, who’s developing a biopic about the Who’s madman drummer, Keith Moon, with the full cooperation of the rock band’s remaining members, Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey and John Entwistle. (The band is still rocking, with an announcement of North American tour plans set for today.)
The Keith Moon project is based at Warner Bros., with Billy Gerber’s Gerber Pictures. Also attached to produce is Nigel Sinclair of Intermedia Films. It is unclear, however, whether the involvement of Sinclair — a longtime Who fanatic — extends to his financing and production company or whether it’s a solo act.
The Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame outfit could prove a magnet for talent. Upon hearing of a potential Who pic, thesp Nicolas Cage was quoted as saying, “I am Pete Townshend!”
Even after Silberling finished out of the running to direct Warner Bros.’ “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” and detached his name from the Warner Bros.-DreamWorks co-production “Time Machine,” the “Moon” shoot is still a ways off for the helmer.
But the Who may also be involved in his next film, “Baby’s in Black.” Produced by Mark Johnson, it’s a dark comedy: After a man’s fiancee is murdered, he finds himself falling in love again while in the awkward position of living with his intended’s in-laws. Pic’s set in the early ’70s; Who songs would contribute to the soundtrack.
“Black” is a passion project for Silberling: He wrote the script in response to a personal tragedy. His fiancee, 21-year-old actress Rebecca Schaeffer, was murdered by a stalker in 1989. “Black” was originally set up in ’98 as the first project under Silberling’s Reveal Entertainment, which signed a first-look deal with DreamWorks. When the studio put the film in turnaround last September, Silberling and Johnson hooked up with Steve Reuther’s Warner-based Bel Air Entertainment.
To date, only Susan Sarandon is in place as the deceased woman’s mother.
The loss of “Potter,” however, has renewed Silberling’s determination to make “Black” his next film — even if it means taking it out of the Bel Air cradle. Reuther’s participation in the project is cast contingent, and if Silberling can find another player willing to make the film with a cast that doesn’t meet Bel Air’s approval, Reuther isn’t likely to stand in his way.