Joe Strummer director speaks to NME.COM

Julien Temple reveals secret punk footage behind new film

Director Julien Temple has revealed that a lot of the early footage of The Clash which appears in his new film about Joe Strummer was intended for a film about the band back in the 1970s.

‘The Future Is Unwritten’, in cinemas from May 18, takes a look back the legendary rocker’s life, and director Temple has disclosed that a lot of his punk footage came from an abandoned project.

He said: “I became close to The Clash at that time because I was filming them at the time and I was trying to make a film about them. The black and white footage of The Clash is stuff I shot back in ’76 and early ’77.”

That project was never completed to old punk rock rivalries as when Temple went off to film the Sex Pistols, The Clash got frosty. However by chance Strummer and the directors became neighbours down in Somerset nearly 20 years later the two became close again.

When Strummer died just before Christmas in 2002, the director picked up where he left off to pay tribute to him.

“With this film, I thought it was important to make a film about Joe’s whole life and not just The Clash because I wanted to show how he managed to stay pure in what he really believed in,” explained Temple of the project.

“Getting his childhood in there was crucial, because a lot of things he stood for and what he came to be were shaped by that childhood at the time. It was essential for me to try and show where he came from. I tried to make it like I did with ‘The Filth and The Fury’ (Sex Pistols documentary, released in 2000) about the culture and the time it came out, it has a social, cultural and a political undercurrent running through it.”

For more from Julien Temple on Joe Strummer, get this week’s issue of NME on newsstands now.