Is Frankie Goes to Hollywood the next big music biopic?

A feature film on the life of singer Holly Johnson and the breakout success of his band Frankie Goes to Hollywood looks like it’s set to be the next big music bio-pic.

It’s a Sin star Callum Scott Howells has reportedly signed on to play Johnson is a film based on the singer’s memoir A Bone in My Flute according to film industry website Deadline.  The project is being developed by Working Title and Independent Entertainment.

Howells made a big splash in the Russell T. Davies written HIV/AIDS drama It’s a Sin where he played Colin Morris-Jones. He’s gone in to star in a West End production of Cabaret and got rave reviews for his part in the Gary Owen play Romeo and Julie which opened in London earlier this year.

The script for the proposed film was written by director Bernard Rose, who has a long association with the band. He directed the controversial video for the 1983 breakout hit Relax. 

The Liverpool band’s debut single Relax was released in late 1983 and was banned by the BBC. The song quickly rose to the top of the charts. Follow up singles Two Tribes, Welcome to the Pleasuredome and the ballad The Power of Love soon followed giving the band a succession of huge hits, and their music videos were loved by fledgling music video channels.

The debut album reportedly sold a million copies even before it was released. The Frankie phenomenon was huge in 1984 with the bands iconic “Frankie Says” t-shirts being seen everywhere.

Frankie Goes to Hollywood featured many out and proud gay members, which was a rarity in pop music in the early 1980s. The bands follow up album Liverpool which came out in 1986 failed to replicate the success of their first wave of hits and the band broke up in 1988.

Johnson launched a successful solo career which saw him return to the charts. In 1993 during an interview Johnson shared that he was living with HIV.

Earlier this week the band reunited for a concert which highlighted bands from Liverpool as part of the city’s Eurovision celebrations. Playing together for the first time since 1987 the band took to the stage for a rendition of Welcome to the Pleasuredome. 

Tim Bevan, Co-Chairperson of Working Title, shared his excitement about the proposed project.

“Working Title is always looking to champion British stories and so the opportunity to shine a light on Frankie Goes To Hollywood, a British band who truly revolutionised the UK music industry, was a natural fit for us. Working under the direction of Bernard Rose, the project will star exciting young talent, Callum Scott Howells in the lead, and Independent Entertainment as partner. We can’t wait to get started.”

Read OUTinPerth’s interview with Holly Johnson from 2014. 

OIP Staff

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