- 16 Feb 10
Hot Press has been on the set of 'Killing Bono' – the Irish musical comedy film loosely based on former Hot Press writer Neil McCormick’s hilarious 2004 memoir, 'I Was Bono’s Doppleganger'.
The €3million film, which is funded by Northern Ireland Screen with help from Invest NI, is being directed by Nick Hamm, and stars Ben Barnes, Robert Sheehan, Pete Postlethwaite and Krysten Ritter.
Speaking to Hot Press writer Olaf Tyaransen, Nick Hamm – whose previous credits include The Hole (the acclaimed 2001 psychological thriller, which featured Keira Knightley) explained: “We’ve been shooting for just over four weeks now and it’s gone incredibly well. We expect to wrap on February 19th.”
A lifelong U2 fan, Hamm snapped up the movie rights to 'I Was Bono’s Doppleganger' as soon as the book came out. McCormick went to Mount Temple Comprehensive with U2 and the book tells the story of McCormick’s own ultimately fruitless pursuit of rock stardom, contrasting it with the stratospheric success of his famous friends.
“I bought the rights to the book as soon as it came out, and I’ve been working on this film for more than five years,” Hamm explains. “It took a long time, though, to get the script right because different script writers saw different things in the book, and different ways of telling the story.
“It’s a hard story to tell,” he adds. “The challenge is to find a way to balance the comedy and the emotion. Ultimately, I used the book as a kind of source material. I didn’t tell the story of the book because the book is a series of incidents, and that wouldn’t make a movie.”
Given that McCormick is a former alumnus of Hot Press, the magazine inevitably features in the movie.. “Yeah, it’s very important to me to have Hot Press involved in the whole thing,” Hamm says. “Hot Press was a very big part of that whole genesis of Irish music. It’s a seminal magazine and newspaper, that’s been world renowned, and it’s very important for us, and the movie, to have that authenticity and give the movie that sense of veracity.”
Although U2 have no financial stake in the production, the band have granted permission for two of their songs to be used. The film will also feature original music from Castledawson singer/songwriter Joe Echo aka Ciaran Gribben.
Prince Caspian star Ben Barnes (who plays Neil McCormick) performs Echo’s songs onscreen. “He is absolutely an astounding man, a wonderful musician, and a brilliant composer,” says Barnes of Gribben. “And he wrote these brilliant songs – we used quite a lot of his lyrics. He’s got these very quirky, quite cool lyrics. He writes these songs about rape, and weird things, but makes them into pop songs.
“And so we’re using some of Neil’s lyrics, but I think it’s mostly original music by Joe Echo,” he adds. “Because it should be something fresh and new as well, with that eighties feel, but still a new album. It’s something that should go along with the film. It should be a new soundtrack.”
Killing Bono finishes shooting this week.
Read the full on-set report in the next issue of Hot Press.