Unbroken and Godless actor Jack O’Connell looks set to unleash his inner rock star by portraying Shaun Ryder, frontman of seminal British rock band the Happy Mondays.
According to Variety, O’Connell is “in advance negotiations” to star as Ryder in Twisting My Melon, a big screen biopic named after a lyric from one of the band’s signature hits, “Step on.”
Harry Potter‘s Jason Isaacs is in talks to play Ryder’s father, while Maxine Peake (The Theory of Everything, Peterloo) is on board to play his mother. Holliday Grainger (Cinderella) is likely to play Ryder’s girlfriend.
Twisting My Melon will mark the directorial debut of Matt Greenhalgh, who previously wrote the screenplays for rock biopics about John Lennon (Nowhere Boy) and Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis (Control).
The movie will apparently explore how Shaun Ryder’s relationship with his father, himself a musician, was tested when the Happy Mondays became one of the leading lights of the “Madchester” scene. Emerging from Manchester and the north-west of England in the late ’80s and early ’90s, this club-friendly fusion of funk, house, and psychedelic sounds became a real cultural phenomenon in the U.K.
The band’s appeal remained more cult in the U.S., but “Step on” cracked the Billboard Hot 100 in 1991.
“Shaun Ryder is the son of John Lennon [and] Johnny Rotten with a few kilos of John Belushi stamped in,” director Greenhalgh said in a statement. “He’s risen from the dead more times than anyone can remember, and his poetry will last forever. Shaun, and the last true working-class band – the Happy Mondays – mainlined into my musical DNA when I was sixteen years old. Like millions of others I readily boarded their ecstatic revolution.”
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