LONDON — U.K. production company Catalyst Global Media has attached writer Chris Boyle McQuarry, a frequent collaborator with Oscar-winning “Slumdog Millionaire” scribe Simon Beaufoy, to its rock-and-roll movie “The Hype,” about a notorious public-relations stunt.
The film, which starts in late 1969, tells the true story of how a charismatic rock-band manager, Dave Robinson, joins forces with one of Jimi Hendrix’s former roadies, Eddie Molton, to hatch and execute the “Brinsley Schwarz Hype.” The two men set out to present an average folk band, Brinsley Schwarz, whose usual venues are bars, as the “next big thing,” climaxing in a concert supporting Van Morrison at leading New York rock-venue Fillmore East. They invite the world’s top music journalists to witness what they hope will be a public-relations triumph, but it turns into a disaster as the band’s performance fails to live up to the hype.
The action ricochets between London, Ireland, New York and Toronto, with an ensemble cast of colorful characters that includes a seductive heiress, a belligerent U.S. promoter and a planeload of drunken journalists.
The film is based on the book “No Sleep Till Canvey Island” by Will Birch, who is consulting on the project, and Warner Music Group is a partner on the film. The pic will feature a soundtrack appropriate to the period.
The film revels in the “possibility of human dreams and the wafer-thin line that exists between triumph and abject disaster,” according a statement from Catalyst, which was set up last year by Charlotte Walls, Al Hardiman and Gideon Lyons.
Hardiman told Variety that the film would be a “comedy of errors” with a similar tone to “American Hustle” or “Get Shorty.”
Walls said of the story: “The power of the sheer possibility of that human experience and that determination is something that audiences will be able to hook into.”
She says of the central character: “At the heart of this story is this very enigmatic, slightly flawed businessman who means well and is always aiming to get to his destination, but is always 20% off course. So he never quite gets what he wants. He has all these projects that are very outlandish, but he is very charismatic and beloved, so the people around him all get sucked into believing the hype.”
Boyle McQuarry’s feature film “The Pilgrimage” is in development with Michael Fassbender and Conor McCaughan at DMC Film. Boyle is represented by Troika.