The Alarm's Ruse Inspires Film
A single/video stunt staged by the Alarm last year will serve as the premise of a forthcoming film to be made by the producer of "Shrek."A single/video stunt staged by the Alarm last year will serve as the premise of a forthcoming film to be made by the producer of "Shrek." The story is based around the veteran Welsh act's success with the single "45 RPM," released in February under the fictional name the Poppyfields and supported by a video featuring teenagers as the band.
The single netted a top 30 entry on the U.K. singles chart as well as worldwide media coverage when it was revealed it was the Alarm, which scored its biggest hits in the 1980s.
Alarm singer/guitarist Mike Peters tells Billboard.com that American writer Jim Cooper, a longtime fan of the band, followed the story and decided it would make a great film. After discussing his idea with Peters, Cooper took his pitch to John H. Williams, hooking the producer of "Shrek" and "Shrek 2" with "45 RPM" in much the same way the Alarm did U.K. music fans with the Poppyfields.
"The film is going to be a fictionalized account of what went off," Peters says of the project, which is still in the early stages of development. "It's got quite a good start. At the moment it starts off with the singer, who is sort of based on me, [who] lives in L.A. The glory days are long gone and he owns a bar."
At present, Peters says the story utilizes the death of the Clash's Joe Strummer as the impetus to reunite the band, "and instead of doing the old songs from the band, they say, 'Let's write a new one in tribute to Joe,' and they write '45 RPM,' and off the story goes into mayhem and chaos."
With all of the principals involved wanting to base the film in the United Kingdom, "the idea is to make it a cross between 'Tootsie' and 'The Full Monty,'" Peters says with a hearty laugh.
Cooper will co-write the script with the film's director, Sara Sugarman, who was at the helm of last year's Lindsay Lohan hit "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen." Coincidentally, the filmmaker and the musician grew up together in Rhyl, Wales, where they had competing punk bands -- Peters' pre-Alarm act the Toilets and Sugarman's the Fractures, which was to be known as the Alarm until their singer suffered a broken arm.
"I only discovered that the other week," admits Peters, who was reminded of it while going through an old scrapbook with Sugarman. That collection of memories also inspired the pair to collaborate on another script based on their youthful pursuits.
Peters has no intention of starring in the film but "might have a walk-on part as the manager of the band or something like that. But we'd definitely like to be involved in the [soundtrack]. I think we'll either create an original soundtrack for the film or we'll use existing songs but pretend that they're by the band in the film."
Peters and the current lineup of the Alarm -- guitarist James Stevenson, bassist Craig Adams, drummer Steve Grantly and keyboardist Mark Taylor -- are currently on a brief U.S. tour that plays Farmingdale, N.Y., tonight (Nov. 11).
Here are the Alarm's tour dates:
Nov. 11: Farmingdale, N.Y. (Downtown)
Nov. 12-13: New York (Knitting Factory)
Nov. 15: Boston (Middle East)
Nov. 16: Philadelphia (Northstar)
Nov. 17: Baltimore (Ottobar)
Nov. 18: Chicago (Abbey Pub)
Nov. 19: Santa Ana, Calif. (Galaxy Theatre)
Nov. 20: Los Angeles (Spaceland)