The first feature docu on the Doors will finally break on through to the bigscreen April 9, after playing the fest circuit for much of 2009.
A co-production of Wolf Films/Strange Pictures and Rhino Entertainment, “When You’re Strange” is narrated by Johnny Depp and written and directed by Tom DiCillo. Film relies almost entirely on archival footage, much of which hasn’t been seen before.
Pic is being released in a limited run by Abramorama, the distrib behind last year’s hit rock doc “Anvil! The Story of Anvil.”
Doc first played at Sundance in 2009. Producers include Dick Wolf, Rhino’s John Beug and Jeff Jampol, the band’s manager. Wolf Films’ Peter Jankowski, also a producer, guided the project for Wolf’s company.
“When You’re Strange” was made with support of band members Ray Manzarek, John Densmore and Robby Krieger, as well as the estate of Jim Morrison. Manzarek has said in interviews that the doc is the antidote to Oliver Stone’s film “The Doors.”
After its Sundance bow, filmmakers brought Depp aboard to voice a new narration. Docu continued to be fine-tuned as it made fest appearances at Berlin, Deauville and San Sebastian. More recently, the completed version played at the Santa Barbara Film Fest.
“Watching the hypnotic, hitherto unreleased footage of Jim, John, Ray and Robby, I felt like I experienced it all through their eyes. As a rock ‘n’ roll documentary, or any kind of documentary for that matter, it simply doesn’t get any better than this,” Depp said.
Wolf said he remembers buying The Door’s first album and listening to it a dozen times in a row.
“Both sides. Every song. I’ve been a fan every since. This movies is a story of the band, but it is also an insight into a moment that will never be repeated,” Wolf said.
The 90-minute doc uses footage shot between the band’s formation in 1965 and Morrison’s death in 1971, including footage from Morrison and Manzarek’s time together at UCLA’s film school.
Film’s soundtrack will be available March 30.
Beug said film will open in markets including New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Seattle and San Francisco. The DVD will be released three months after that. Film also will air on PBS’ American Masters series.