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Manzarek sets up Morrison tale

'Poet in Exile,' story of Doors leader, to bigscreen

Ray Manzarek’s “The Poet in Exile,” an exploration of the urban legend that his Doors bandmate Jim Morrison is still alive, is heading for the bigscreen.

Manzarek has set up the project with Tim Sullivan, who’s writing, directing and producing through his Clubhouse Entertainment banner. Manzarek, keyboardist and co-founder of the Doors, will also produce and score the project, with plans to shoot next year.

Manzarek and Morrison formed the Doors in 1965 with Robbie Krieger and John Densmore.

Manzarek’s novel, published in 2002, explores the notion that Morrison staged his death in 1971 and contacts Manzarek from his hiding place in the Seychelles Islands to embark on one final journey of rock ‘n’ roll rebellion.

“The No. 1 question I get asked is, ‘Do you think Jim Morrison’s really dead?’ ” Manzarek said. “All I can say is, I personally have not seen or heard from Jim since he left for Paris 40 years ago. And I miss that guy. He was a poet. A Dionysus to my Apollo. A great performer, a shaman. And a damn good friend.”

Manzarek told Variety that he doesn’t plan to portray himself in the film. “I might do a cameo, but I don’t know if acting is my forte,” he added.

Sullivan, who has worked extensively in horror (“Driftwood,” “Chillerama,” “2001 Maniacs”) will co-write the script with “Chillerama” producer and editor Gavin Heffernan and New Mexico poet-author Liz Sullivan (“Icons and Outcasts”). “The Poet in Exile” will be produced through Sullivan’s ClubHouse Entertainment with Heffernan and writer-directors Brian McCulley, John Crockett, Adam Robitel and Paul Ward.

The band’s history was the subject of Oliver Stone’s 1991 “The Doors” along with documentaries including last year’s “When You’re Strange,” narrated by Johnny Depp. “The Poet in Exile” is the first Doors film project originated by a member of the band.

Sullivan served as MTV News staff writer and was an associate producer on New Line’s rock ‘n’ roll comedy “Detroit Rock City.” He met Manzarek more than a decade ago and said the film aims to capture the spirit of the ’60s living on through the bond and friendship between the two musicians.

Manzarek has remained active as a keyboardist and has been touring with Krieger as Manzarek/Krieger. He also recently released the album “Translucent Blues” with guitarist Roy Rogers.

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