SHEER JOY

The project was almost abandoned forever - but now it's all systems go, as NME.COM discovered...

The wife of late Joy Division singer IAN CURTIS has said that the forthcoming film of his life was almost shelved for good.

Celebrated rock photographer Anton Corbijn – most renowned for his work with U2 – has been confirmed as the director of the movie, which has a working title of ‘Control’. Deborah Curtis (Ian’s widow) and former Factory Records boss Anthony Wilson will both have co-producer roles on the film.

Deborah Curtis told NME.COM: “There was a time when I thought it would be better not to make the film at all. But I definitely think we’ve assembled the right people to tell Ian’s story.”

The film will be based on Deborah’s book ‘Touching From A Distance’. Curtis committed suicide in 1980, aged just 23. A movie project documenting his troubled life had first been mooted at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, but the Curtis family had never been fully happy with the proposals until now.

Wilson said: “Whenever Hollywood gets involved in the music industry, the end product is invariably shit, apart from a few films – ’24 Hour Party People’ was one of them. Ian’s story is such a sensitive one, we had to get the right people on board to tell it.”

Asked how ‘Control’ would differ from ’24 Hour Party People’, which told the story of the rise and fall of Factory Records, Wilson replied: “They want to do the real story of Ian – warts and all. People have many conflicting views as to why Ian actually committed suicide, and this film will maybe reflect some of those views.”

The film will be Corbijn’s first feature-length project as a director. The Dutch-born photographer had a long working relationship with the band, photographing their early press shots and directing the video for the track ‘Atmosphere’.

He said: “When I was growing up in Holland, Joy Division were a band that really moved me. The NME was like a bible and Paul Morley’s interviews with Joy Division really inspired me. Joy Division are the reason I moved to England in the first place. That was 25 years ago, and I feel really honoured to be directing the story of Ian’s life 25 years later.”

The screenplay has been written by Manchester writer Matt Greenhalgh and is set to go into production in July. Casting will begin in March.