New movie biopic to tell story of The Clash

The story of how classic album 'London Calling' was created at a studio in Highbury by punk pioneers The Clash is to be brought to life in a new movie biopic.

The story of how classic album 'London Calling' was created at a studio in Highbury by punk pioneers The Clash is to be brought to life in a new movie biopic.

Award-winning writer Jez Butterworth - whose play Jerusalem has recently transferred to Broadway - is to script the film to be made by the company behind successes like 'Tamara Drewe' and 'The Other Boleyn Girl'.

Former Clash stars Paul Simonon and Mick Jones, who have now joined the line-up of Gorillaz, are executive producers and advisors for the film, which will be called London Calling.

The album was the band's third release and saw the quartet leaving behind the three-chord crunching and sloganeering of their early days and embracing jazz, blues and reggae.

It was famously named the greatest release of the 1980s by Rolling Stone magazine, despite being released in the UK in 1979.

'London Calling' saw the band team up with colourful music industry figure Guy Stevens who produced the double album at the now-closed Wessex Studios in Highbury, north London.

Stevens - a heavy drinker - was noted for his unconventional methods in the studio and Jones has recalled how the producer would wave a ladder around or throw chairs against the wall.

He also emptied a bottle of red wine into an expensive piano. The sprawling album proved to be a high point of the band's career and led to them finding success in the US.

The film has not yet been cast but will begin filming next year. It is to be made by Ruby Film and Television, which has scored a number of successes in recent years and is one of the UK's most prolific production companies.

Producer of the film Alison Owens said: "Fans of The Clash all over the world have been waiting a long time to see their extraordinary story played out properly and accurately on the big screen. We're happy that Mick and Paul have given the project their blessing and are on board to help steer the ship."

Members of the band have been involved in a number of film projects. They were heavily involved with the movie 'Rude Boy', and starred in their own low-budget film 'Hell W10'.

Late frontman Joe Strummer also had a number of acting roles including Alex Cox's movie 'Straight To Hell'. Strummer died of a heart attack in 2002.

Butterworth's screenplay is being supported by the soon-to-be-axed UK Film Council.

The writer won a Laurence Olivier Award in 1995 for his first play 'Mojo', and he will also be a producer on 'London Calling'.

The Clash came to a messy end when Strummer sacked guitarist Jones after hit album 'Combat Rock'. Strummer and bass player Simonon continued with hired hands but the group fell apart after a poorly received final sixth album, 'Cut The Crap'.

More in this section


The best food, health, entertainment and lifestyle content from the Irish Examiner, direct to your inbox.

Sign up