Morrissey Biopic in the Works

11:23 AM PST 05/09/2014 by Merle Ginsberg & Gary Baum, Stuart Kemp
Newscom

The unauthorized film "Steven" — the first name of the former Smiths frontman — will be helmed by Oscar-nominated writer-director Mark Gill.

A version of this story first appeared in the May 16 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

One of the most unique ­-- and oblique -- figures in music is about to get a biopic and, like him, a highly unusual one.

The unauthorized film Steven -- the first name of former Smiths leader Morrissey -- will cover the pre-Smiths life of the depressive poetic bisexual vegetarian, growing up in bleak Manchester, England, and his triumph over an alienated childhood to become the cult star he is today. (The singer, 54, currently is on tour, playing the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on May 10.)

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It will be helmed by Mark Gill, the British writer-director of the Oscar-nominated short The Voorman Problem, starring Martin Freeman and Tom Hollander.

Producers include Orian Williams (Control, Big Sur), who clearly has a thing for biopics (he's also in development on one about The Who's late manager Kit Lambert).

Gill told the BBC he plans to make the film for non-Morrissey fans as much as for the star's myriad devotees. "I can't deny that this is a love letter to Steven Patrick Morrissey and the dark satanic mills of Manchester."

Described as "more of a portrait than a conventional biopic," the project will be co-written by Gill along with author William Thacker with shooting expected to begin at the end of this year.

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The BBC said it is not clear whether or not the plans have the singer's backing, but given the publication of Morrissey's 630-page memoir last year and its details of his childhood growing up in Northern England, there is much to draw on already in the public domain.

Morrissey was the co-founder, along with songwriting partner Johnny Marr, of The Smiths, whom he led between 1982 and 1987 before embarking on a solo career following the group's split.

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