Jack O’Connell is in advanced negotiations to play Happy Mondays frontman Shaun Ryder in AGC Studios’ “Twisting My Melon.” The project, which AGC will fully finance and co-produce, was announced at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.
In addition to O’Connell, Jason Isaacs is in talks to play Derek Ryder, Shaun’s father. Holliday Grainger (“Cinderella”) will likely play Shaun’s girlfriend and Maxine Peake (“The Theory of Everything”) will portray his much-put-upon mother. The Happy Mondays were giants of the independent music scene in the U.K., combining elements of funk and psychedelia with hits such as “Hallelujah” and “Mad Cyril.”
The project was originated and developed by Matt Greenhalgh and his production company Maine Road Films. He co-wrote the screenplay with Andrew Knott and William Ash and will direct and produce the film. Greenhalgh has dramatized the rock world before, writing screenplays for the John Lennon drama “Nowhere Boy” and the Ian Curtis biopic “Control.” This marks his feature-film directing debut.
“Twisting My Melon” will look at how Ryder’s relationship with his father, a working-class guitar hero dubbed the “Horseman,” was tested when he achieved his own musical success.
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“Shaun Ryder is the son of John Lennon, Johnny Rotten with a few kilos of John Belushi stamped in,” Greenhalgh said in a statement. “He’s risen from the dead more times than anyone can remember, and his poetry will last forever. Shaun, and the last true working-class band – the Happy Mondays – mainlined into my musical DNA when I was 16 years old. Like millions of others I readily boarded their ecstatic revolution. And thanks to AGC, I feel honoured to be able to author the only rock’n’roll movie I want to see”.
Also attached to produce are Mark Lane (“47 Metres Down”) of UK production outfit Tea Shop & Film Company, and Kevin Sampson. AGC’s chairman and CEO Stuart Ford and AGC’s Callum Grant will executive produce together with Jeremy Gawade.
O’Connell is best known for anchoring “Unbroken” and “’71.” Isaacs has appeared in the Harry Potter franchise and recently co-starred in “Hotel Mumbai.”
AGC Studios’ slate includes the Tate Taylor comedy “Breaking News in Yuba County” with Allison Janney and Mila Kunis; the documentary “Ladyboss: The Jackie Collins Story”; and the World War II action drama “Midway.”