EXCLUSIVE: The Greatest Showman director Michael Gracey is about to direct Better Man, a fantastical coming of age story in regards to the unlikely rise of celebrated singer/songwriter Robbie Williams. The bundle goes out shortly to the Berlin shopping for crowd, for a movie that Gracey wrote together with first-time screenwriters Oliver Cole and Simon Gleeson. The movie tells the story of Williams’ ascent, exploring the experiences that made him who he’s, and the demons he battled each on and off the stage as he turned an enormous star on the again of hits like Angels.
Jules Daly for Big Red Films (The Tomorrow War) Craig McMahon for McMahon International (Three Thousand Years Of Longing) and Gracey are producing. Production is slated to start this summer time.
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Williams first turned well-known at 16 as a singer within the boy band sensation Take That, however actually hit stride as a solo artist. It occurred quick, with 11 out of 12 of his studio albums charting primary within the UK, and 6 of them among the many prime 100 largest promoting albums there. His excursions are instantaneous sellouts and he made the Guinness Book for promoting 1.6 million tickets for a tour in a day. He has lengthy been a provocative, outsized persona however surprisingly, about the one place on the planet the place he hasn’t hit celebrity stature is in America, the place he lives more often than not. Deadline spoke with Gracey and it’s clear the filmmaker is planning one thing distinctive right here. He retains sure particulars secret, however in any case he stunned many with the blockbuster success of his musical on P.T. Barnum, and has aspirations for a repeat. You may glean some clues by means of his imaginative and prescient for the film that he describes under.
Gracey mentioned the film got here out of hours of free flowing conversations he had with Williams, a course of that began after The Greatest Showman in LA and London, and lasted a pair years to search out the deal with on a film. Williams’ hit tunes are a part of the movie bundle, however after I requested the filmmaker how Williams might be represented onscreen, and whether or not he himself might be within the movie, Gracey obtained a bit cryptic.
“As for how we represent Robbie in the film, that bit is top secret,” Gracey mentioned. “I want to do this in a really original way. I remember going to the cinema as a kid and there were films that blew me away and made me say as I sat there in the cinema, ‘I’ve never seen this before.’ I just want the audience to have that feeling. It’s so important when they watch this story, and look at the screen, that they literally think, I’ve never seen this before. All I can say is the approach is top secret, but the goal is to generate that feeling I just described. It’s this fantastical story, and I want to represent it in its harsh reality all the way to these moments of pure fantasy.”
Whether he’s in it or not, Williams’ persona, ambition and insecurities might be on full show, unearthed in these lengthy conversations. It might be completely different from current musical films like Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman in that Williams didn’t are available a prodigy like Freddie Mercury and Elton John.
“Unlike some people who were born prodigies or musical geniuses and you follow the narrative of the world catching up to their brilliance, this isn’t that story,” Gracey informed Deadline. “Robbie is that Everyman, who just dreamed big and followed those dreams and they took him to an incredible place. Because of that, his is an incredibly relatable story. He’s not the best singer, or dancer, and yet, he managed to sell 80 million records worldwide. You can relate to the guy who doesn’t see himself as having any extraordinary talent, even though of course, he does. What he did have is the will, vision and confidence to say, I’m going to pursue my dream. For us as an audience, it’s a window into the world, of what if we just went for it and chased that impossible dream that so many of us put to one side.”
The movie will embody the low moments, together with making it and pondering the out-sized fame wasn’t deserved.
“At moments when he was having that success, nobody is extra crucial of him than he’s. There’s a little bit of that in all of us who once they get acknowledgement, really feel like a fraud. It’s psychological and inner, however everybody seems to be within the mirror and finds fault with themselves, irrespective of who you suppose you’re, and particularly in your teenage years. Robbie had unimaginable fame at age 16, they usually typically say and I do imagine it’s true, you cease your emotional and psychological maturity at no matter age you develop into well-known. You take a look at individuals who get fame at a younger age, and all of the challenges that make you develop, all of the issues that you must need to cope with on an emotional stage, they get taken care of or pushed to at least one facet. You have a mechanism round you that means that you can keep immature, that means that you can get what you need, have a tantrum. That doesn’t occur for the remainder of us. It is fascinating to look at somebody who has all this at 16, and sort of stays 16 his entire life. This entire script was born of hours of Robbie and myself getting collectively at this recording studio he has at his home. We would simply go away the mic on file and chat for hours. Some classes weren’t nice and within the final 5 minutes he would say one thing that was so trustworthy and truthful, it blew my thoughts. I might suppose, if I used to be writing a script, I might by no means provide you with a line as good as that.
“When I was talking to him, the details of what was going on inside him when something completely different might have been taking place around him, not only is it unique, it’s an interesting way to come at a musical biopic,” Gracey mentioned. “It’s because he has such a unique way of talking about his life, and he was so open about it. If we can present it in an original way it would reflect how original this is, but also, how relatable it is. It’s not often you can tell extraordinary fantastical stories that everyone can relate to. There is a bit of that in the superhero narrative, like I’m an every person and I discover something and get this incredible superpower. That is a fantasy we all subscribe to. It is interesting when you can access that when it comes to a rock star.”
Back to the music.
“All Robbie’s songs will be re-sung, for the emotion of the moment,” he mentioned. “If in his life he’s in the depths of despair, he’s not going to sing a song as cabaret flamboyant showmanship; it’s going to be broken, acapella, stripped down, because that’s where he is emotionally. In moments of pure joy, you’ll get songs sung in this whirlwind of hysteria. So essentially every song in the film, Robbie will sing, but it will be performed for the emotion of that moment, and that scene.”
As for why Williams by no means soared in America as he did most all over the place else on the planet, Gracey believes it may be an ally to the movie within the U.S.
“All the round the world, he is massive here in Australia and massive in Europe, and for whatever reason, he didn’t crack that U.S. market,” Gracey mentioned. “Which is why he lives there, because he is able to go down the street and he not have his clothes torn off him. I look at it like, everywhere outside the U.S. people are going to hear these songs and they’re going to know every single one of them. Inside the U.S., they hopefully will greet it the same way as when they met The Greatest Showman. They didn’t know those songs, and yet people fell in love with them and made them their own. I think it will be the same with Better Man. They will be meeting the music for the first time and it’ll be really beautiful, because it will be in the context of the narrative of the film.”
I counsel that if the film lives as much as Gracey’s nice expectations, Williams may nicely be unable to stroll down any avenue, even in America the place he lives.
“That would be my hope, but I don’t think it’s necessarily his hope,” Gracey mentioned.
CAA Media Finance and Elevate Production Finance are arranging financing for the movie and representing home distribution rights; Rocket Science is dealing with worldwide gross sales.
Gracey is represented by CAA, Partizan, and Hirsch Wallerstein; Williams is repped by CAA and ie:music ltd; and Daly is repped by CAA.