Bill Condon has been tapped to write and direct the iPod-fueled, music drenched romance “The Song Is You” for Focus Features. Based on the novel by Arthur Phillips, the story is not unlike “(500) Days Of Summer” or “High Fidelity,” as it follows a music obsessed guy through the ups and downs of a relationship.
Here’s the Amazon synopsis below and we have to admit we nearly stopped reading after the first line:
Julian Donahue is in love with his iPod.
Each song that shuffles through “that greatest of all human inventions” triggers a memory. There are songs for the girls from when he was single; there’s the one for the day he met his wife-to-be, and another for the day his son was born. But when his family falls apart, even music loses its hold on him, and he has nothing.
Until one snowy night in Brooklyn, when his life’s soundtrack–and life itself–starts to play again. He stumbles into a bar and sees Cait O’Dwyer, a flame-haired Irish rock singer, performing with her band, and a strange and unlikely love affair is ignited.
Over the next few months, Julian and Cait’s passion for music and each other is played out, though they never meet. In cryptic emails, text messages, cell-phone videos, and lyrics posted on Cait’s website, they find something in their bizarre friendship that they cannot find anywhere else. Cait’s star is on the rise, and Julian gently guides her along her path to fame–but always from a distance–and she responds to the one voice who understands her, more than a fan but still less than a lover.
As their feelings grow more feverish, keeping a safe distance becomes impossible. What follows is a love story and a uniquely heartbreaking dark comedy about obsession and loss.
While Condon says the “chance to tell a story through song is the thing that really turns me on,” it remains to be seen if this will be a full blown musical as many are reporting or something lower-key, but music heavy. Our guess is the latter as Focus usually aim for smaller budgeted film, and full on musical usually requires a bigger studio’s purse. In any event, it’s easy to see why this is being eyed for an adaptation. It skews young and easily reminds us of “Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist” and “Once” in addition to the films we mentioned above. And undoubtedly, that’s the audience this film will be aimed for.
Moreover, the novel is chock full of songs and music references that the marketing and soundtrack for the film is pretty much already built in. Here’s a look at the songs that appear on the iTunes playlist (liner notes by the author here) for the book to give you a hint at what you can expect (samples below):
1. Space Oddity – David Bowie
2. My Finest Hour – The Sundays
3. The Boy With the Thorn In His Side – The Smiths
4. Song For Whoever (Single) – The Beautiful South
5. I Cover the Waterfront – Billie Holiday
6. Foxey Lady – The Cure
7. Monkey Man – The Rolling Stones
8. April in Paris – Ella Fitzgerald
9. Águas de Março – Antonio Carlos Jobim & Elis Regina
10. A Little Less Conversation – Elvis Presley
However, before Condon gets to work on that, he will start filming “Salmon Fishing In Yemen” in May. Announced last fall, the film, based on the novel by Paul Torday and adapted by Simon Beaufoy (“Slumdog Millionaire”), is about a British civil servant whose marriage is failing as he tries to introduce the sport of salmon angling to the Yemeni public. Sounds interesting to say the least.
But what about the Richard Pryor biopic, “Is It Something I Said?” with Marlon Wayans that was announced to great fanfare last fall?
Condon says the film “is happening just because [exec-producer] Adam [Sandler] said, ‘I want to see this happen, I want to help’” and used a “put” in his Sony deal to get the pic made.
The project was originally set up with Eddie Murphy attached, but his massive salary put the kibosh on the project. Condon did reveal that the film is structured like a “concert film” and that Wayans wowed everybody with his audition: “Marlon isn’t imprinted on everybody’s brain, but the movie takes the form of a concert film and I needed someone with a stand-up background. You can’t fake that, it’s genetic. Marlon did a 15-minute test that consisted of three long scenes. He captured an essence of Pryor that was amazing to all of us.”
We’re not quite sure the exact order of the upcoming project, but our guess is that after “Salmon Fishing In Yemen” is complete, Condon will jump to “The Song Is You” before tackling the Pryor pic, which means its probably still at least a couple of years away (which is a shame as its the one we’re most looking forward to). And as if his schedule wasn’t busy enough, Condon is also developing the HBO Hollywood blogger comedy
“Toldja! Nikki Finke” “Tilda.”
David Bowie “Space Oddity”
Billie Holiday “I Cover The Waterfront”