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British dance music pioneers The Prodigy are getting the documentary treatment.
Pulse Films — the studio behind Gangs of London, Riz Ahmed’s recent film Mogul Mowgli and Spike Jonze’s Beastie Boys Story — is producing the project, which will mark the first feature-length music documentary about the band.
Directed by multi-Grammy nominated Paul Dugdale and written alongside Sam Bridger, the feature — provisionally entitled The Prodigy and being produced by founding members Liam Howlett and Maxim — will tell what the filmmakers are describing as “the raw, uncompromising and emotional story of a gang of young outlaws from Essex who came together in the vortex of the late 80s U.K. rave scene.”
The Prodigy would become one of the biggest British bands of the 1990s, selling an estimated 30 million records worldwide. Singles such as “Firestarter” and “Breathe” — taken from their third album, 1997’s The Fat of the Land, which hit the top spot in the Billboard 200 — would help push them into the mainstream and give them a huge global audience.
Success, international fame, fortune, addiction, fighting and chaos would almost tear the band apart, but The Prodigy stayed together and continued writing music and touring until the tragic death of their iconic wild-haired frontman Keith Flint in 2019. Howlett and Maxim said that the film — which will combine archive footage, animation and first-hand testimonies — was dedicated to their late friend.
“After the devastating passing of our brother Keef in 2019, the time feels right for us to tell the story of our band, all of it, the whole nine,” the two said.
“It’s a story of the chaotic and troubled journey of our gang, our band, the people’s band, The Prodigy,” they added. “Or simply, a story of brothers on a mission to make noise, to ignite the people’s soul and blow-up sound systems worldwide, that’s fucking what. This film will be made with the same integrity that our music: uncompromising, raw and honest. This one’s for Keef!”
Pulse Films’ Thomas Benski, Marisa Clifford and Sam Bridger will produce alongside Howlett, Maxim and band co-manager John Fairs in the role of executive producer. Production is expected to start this Spring.
“The film will be as wild as the band. Dark at times, strong changes of pace, it will be a visual assault too, stylistically striking, contemporary and challenging,” said Dugdale, who has directed documentaries and concert films for artists including, Adele, The Rolling Stones, Coldplay, Ed Sheehan, The Prodigy and Paul McCartney. “We want the viewers to leave the cinema like they’ve just stepped off a roller-coaster.”
Despite a recent push into scripted, led by Gangs of London, last year’s Sky/AMC action-crime drama created by Gareth Evans and with a second season now in development, Pulse Films has a strong foundation in music videos and documentaries, having produced Beyoncé’s Emmy nominated and Peabody Award-winning film Lemonade, Nick Cave’s BAFTA-nominated 20,000 Days On Earth and LCD Soundsystem’s Shut Up and Play the Hits.
“The Prodigy are the most iconic British electronic band of their generation, a group who single-handedly altered the course of popular music,” said Bridger, Pulse Films’ head of music films. “Our ethos at Pulse Films in the music documentary space has always been to tell unique stories about iconic artists in new and disruptive ways. Partnering with The Prodigy and their long-time directing collaborator Paul Dugdale enables us to continue that tradition and create a film that reflects the heart, sheer imagination and danger of The Prodigy.”
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