Johnny Depp Boards Julien Temple’s Shane MacGowan Documentary

Johnny Depp has come on board as a producer of Julien Temple’s documentary about musician and poet Shane MacGowan, “Shane.”

HanWay Films has acquired worldwide sales rights, and will introduce the project at the upcoming European Film Market, where the company will screen footage for the first time. Altitude Films will distribute the film in the U.K. and Ireland, and it will be broadcast on BBC Four at a later date.

Temple will produce through Nitrate Film with Johnny Depp and Stephen Deuters through Depp’s production entity Infinitum Nihil, and Stephen Malit.

Depp said: “Knowing Shane for 30 years, I am honored to be producing the definitive film on both my friend and one of the most important artists and beloved poets of the 20th century.”

Using animation, unseen footage from Temple’s own archives, and contributions from collaborators, artists and his own family, the film will “reveal Shane’s true punk and poetic nature, culminating in his 60th birthday celebration where singers, movie stars and rock ’n roll outlaws gathered for a knees-up to remember,” according to a statement.

Temple said: “It’s not the easiest thing to make a film about Shane MacGowan. The nearest thing I can think of is one of those David Attenborough films. You set the camera traps. You wait and you wait, in the hope that one day the snow leopard will trigger them. Then when you do actually capture the unique force of Shane’s personality, even for a moment on screen, you realize it was all worthwhile.”

Welsh illustrator Ralph Steadman, well known for his collaborations with American writer Hunter S. Thompson, is providing artworks for animator Jonny Halifax to bring to life.

HanWay Films MD Gabrielle Stewart said: “Shane had a dream to bring Irish music to the next generation and to the world. In that he was truly successful and a purpose very much fulfilled. Woven into his documentary Temple movingly manages to bring Shane’s lyrics to life, and connects you to the man who has encapsulated the soul of the Irish worldwide.”

The film is produced in association with BBC Music and Warner Music Entertainment. Jan Younghusband, head of music commissioning, is executive producer for BBC Music, Steven Lappin for Warner Music Entertainment together with Jeremy Thomas of Recorded Picture Company, Gerry O’Boyle, Manish Patel and Sam Sarkar. Victoria Mary Clarke is associate producer.

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