Toronto: AGC Boards Biopic of Happy Mondays Frontman Shaun Ryder

Jack O'Connell, Shaun Ryder Split - Getty - 2019
Stephane Cardinale - Corbis, PYMCA - Getty

Jack O’Connell, Jason Issacs, Holliday Grainger and Maxine Peak are in negotiations to star in the musical biopic.

Independent studio AGC Studios will fully finance and co-produce Twisting My Melon, the musical biopic of U.K. band Happy Mondays frontman Shaun Ryder, chairman and CEO Stuart Ford unveiled on Friday.

Jack O’Connell (Unbroken, Money Monster), and Jason Isaacs (Hotel Mumbai, The Death of Stalin) are in advanced negotiations to star as Ryder and his father, Derek Ryder, the company said. Also in discussions to join the cast are Holliday Grainger (Patrick Melrose, Cinderella) as Ryder's girlfriend and Maxine Peake (The Theory of Everything) as his mother. 

Based on Ryder's autobiography of the same name, the project was developed by writer/director Matt Greenhalgh (Control, Nowhere Boy, Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool) and his production company Maine Road Films. Greenhalgh co-wrote the screenplay with Andrew Knott and William Ash and will direct and produce the film. It will be his feature-film directorial debut.

Also attached to produce are Mark Lane (47 Metres Down) of U.K. production firm Tea Shop & Film Company, and Kevin Sampson. Ford and AGC’s Callum Grant will executive produce together with Jeremy Gawade. AGC will present the project to buyers at the Toronto International Film Festival.

"Since childhood, all Shaun Ryder ever wanted to do was play in a rock band like his father, a local working-class guitar hero dubbed the 'Horseman,'" according to a plot description. "Soon his drive and one-of-a-kind songwriting skills catapulted him to front man of the Happy Mondays, the iconic '90s British rock band that would come to define a new cultural era. But success challenged Shaun and his relationship with his father in a riotous cautionary rock fable, set against a musical and cultural revolution whose impact can still be felt today."

Said Greenhalgh: "Shaun Ryder is the son of John Lennon, Johnny Rotten with a few kilos of John Belushi stamped in. 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 16 years old. Like millions of others I readily boarded their ecstatic revolution."

Production is scheduled to start in January.