Wayne Coyne has spoken about a lost Flaming Lips musical which he said screenwriter Aaron Sorkin wanted to be about 9/11.
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In 2007, it was announced that the US psych-rock band’s seminal 2002 album ‘Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots’ would be adapted for the stage, with the frontman having previously shared that he and screenwriter Sorkin had discussed ideas.
It was also set to be adapted by Tony-winning director Des McAnuff. In a new interview with Yahoo!, Coyne has elaborated on how he and Sorkin had conflicting ideas for the stage production.
“The Aaron Sorkin part is… I mean, I don’t remember it all that precisely, but we did a meeting. We were in New York City — I think we were going to be on the David Letterman Show or something — and in the afternoon we were going to meet with some potential writers,” Coyne said.
He also recalled how there was a strike on Broadway that day and the writers had “a lot on their minds”.
“And here’s my little record, and they’re talking about what it could be! We were only allowed to meet for probably 20 minutes or something.”
He continued: “You’ve got to remember, this is… not that long after the World Trade Center planes, the 9/11 stuff, all happened, and we were still dealing with George Bush Jr, who was the president.
He then explained that Sorkin wanted the musical to revolve around that period. “He saw the ‘Pink Robots’ as being the evil George Bush empire. And I really don’t know why I was so opinionated, but I just said, ‘Oh, I don’t really like that idea.’ Not that I had a better idea, but I just didn’t see this music as being connected to politics and stuff, you know?
“I mean, I felt like ‘Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots’ is going to last forever, but George Bush will be gone in a couple of years, so who cares? But I think [Aaron] was like, ‘Oh, so you’re going to say no to my idea?’ I mean, he wasn’t mean, there was nothing bad said, but I just got the feeling that he was like, ‘Well, that’s the way I see it. And if you don’t see it that way, see you later!’”
McAnuff later publicly shared that Sorkin exited the project because the musical would be sung-through. The ‘Yoshimi’ musical premiered in San Diego in 2012.
Meanwhile, The Flaming Lips recently added two more UK shows to their 2023 tour, where the band will play ‘Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots’ in full to celebrate its 20th anniversary.