A documentary film about the life and work of Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan has been in the works for some time now. It recently received a major boost from behind the scenes, as Johnny Depp has signed on as its new co-producer. The decision was met with approval for a variety of reasons: Depp’s influence and star power can certainly go far in the industry, and many feel that his unique artistic style is a good match for the topic.
The movie is simply titled Shane, co-produced with British filmmaker Julien Temple. The film is set to use private footage, including never-before-seen films of MacGowan. Animated segments will be integrated as well, done up in the style and tone of Pouges. The animations are to be commissioned independently from the film’s main production but will be chosen and incorporated by the same team.
HanWay Films holds the rights to distribute the film globally and has already announced plans to introduce the film to European audiences. In the UK, the film will be broadcasted via the BBC, and in cinemas courtesy of Altitude Films. Hanway is an independent company that has distributed as many as 500 feature films.
Both the production company and Depp himself have issued statements concerning their upcoming collaboration. Depp emphasised the personal relationship he had with the subject matter of the film. He stated: “Knowing Shane for 30 years, I am honoured to be producing the definitive film on both my friend and one of the most important artists and beloved poets of the 20th century.”
HanWay Films said that the film will “…reveal Shane’s true punk and poetic nature, culminating in his 60th birthday celebration where singers, movie stars and rock ’n roll outlaws gathered for a knees-up to remember.”
Co-producer Temple went into more detail about the team’s creative process, stating:
“It’s not the easiest thing to make a film about Shane MacGowan. The nearest thing I can think of is one of those David Attenborough films. You set the camera traps. You wait and you wait, in the hope that one day the snow leopard will trigger them. Then when you do capture the unique force of Shane’s personality, even for a moment on screen, you realise it was all worthwhile.”
Animated segments have garnered quite a lot of attention, and will be handled by Ralph Steadman: famous for his cooperation on past projects with Hunter S. Thompson. His aesthetic is quite well suited to the topic of the film and will compliment it greatly.
The Pogues were an Irish Celtic punk band, recording during the late 80s and early 90s. MacGowan left the band in 1991 due to drinking problems, but the band continued before breaking up in 1996. The group reformed in 2001 and played regularly up until 2014. Pogues’ unique draw came from its mix of punk attitude and political messaging, blended with traditional Irish music and instruments such as the tin whistle, banjo, cittern, mandolin and accordion. No new music was produced during the group’s second incarnation.