Daniel Johns has announced What If The Future Never Happened? – a short film tying into his recent second solo album, ‘FutureNever’, and inspired by his own whirlwind rise to fame to as a teenager.
- READ MORE: Daniel Johns: “I had anxiety about the future for so long, but realised I was scared of a place that may never exist”
The film is set in 1994, the same year that Johns – then aged 15 – was thrust into the mainstream as the frontman of Silverchair, landing a hit single (‘Tomorrow’) and three-album deal with Sony before the year’s end. He’ll be portrayed in the film by Rasmus King (6 Festivals, Barons), with Johns also starring in an as-yet-unspecified role.
In a press release, Johns described What If The Future Never Happened? as “a grunge, sci-fi short adventure inspired by the pop culture I was immersed in before a curious case of child stardom”. It follows a hypothetical timeline wherein Johns’ trajectory was interrupted by “a mysterious figure from the future”, presumably stopping him from making the leap to stardom.
An official release date for the film is yet to be confirmed, though a trailer was released today (May 30). Have a look at that below:
What If The Future Never Happened? was directed by James Medlam, who’d previously helmed music videos for the likes of Dune Rats, Bonnie Anderson and ZLED. Medlam also co-wrote the screenplay with Heath George, basing it on a story treatment by Johns’ brother Heath (who executive produced the film alongside George).
Expounding on the film’s concept, Johns said it is “at once the most honest and most fantastical thing I’ve ever done”, and called it “a hell of a trip”. It adds to what Johns has teased will be an uncommonly fruitful era for his ‘FutureNever’ project, which he added “is about defying convention and making ambitious art across all mediums”.
Johns hyped the film up more in a recent interview with NME – the cover story for the May 2022 issue of NME Australia – saying: “It blurs the line between short film and music video, it shatters the boundary between biopic and sci-fi and I’m as proud of this film as any music I’ve ever made in my life.”
In addition to songs from ‘FutureNever’, What If The Future Never Happened? will feature “orchestral reinterpretations” of songs from the Silverchair catalogue; in the trailer, we hear an eerie redux of their 1997 hit ‘Freak’.
During his chat with NME, Johns spoke candidly about his feelings towards Silverchair’s undying legacy. He confessed that he dreams “all the fucking time” about the alternate paths he could have taken, but has ultimately come to terms with his career having blossomed the way it did.
“I often see guys my age, surfing at the beach with their tradie vans, playing with their kids at the park, and I’d be lying if I didn’t occasionally wonder what my life would be if the band didn’t take off,” he said, “but it’s not like I’m jealous or anything. I understand that the path I took was probably determined by some sort of fate and I’m grateful for the experiences good and bad. It’s certainly been an interesting life so far.”
Elsewhere in the chat, Johns praised a fellow Australian artist who rapidly rose to fame at a young age – The Kid LAROI – saying he could tell the hip-hop star would “blow up” when he first heard his music, and expressing hope that those around him are giving him the support he needs.
‘FutureNever’ was released back in April via BMG. NME gave it a four-star review, with Andrew Trendell praising the “vulnerability, curiosity and adventure that makes ‘FutureNever’ unmistakably Johns”.