The Keith Moon Movie Rumors Start Up Again

Roger Daltrey is still trying to make a Keith Moon movie. This lengthy bit of history should tell you just exactly how successful he will be. Let's get in the time machine and travel back about eleven years:

I've been getting a lot of e-mails and phone calls recently about the supposed Keith Moon movie. A story made its way into the British tabloid the Sun on Friday Feb 8 it which it was claimed that Roger Daltrey had auditioned Mike Myers for the role of Keith Moon in his proposed biopic. "Mike is a genius," Daltrey was quoted as saying. "I can really see him as Keith. I went to some of the filming of his new Austin Powers film and it's hysterical. He's amazing when you meet him, so clever." 

That same day, Mike Myers denied through his spokeswoman that he had auditioned. Daltrey, it was claimed, had only visited him on set. 

But by then the story was out and doing the news rounds. Meantime, a lot of people have been getting in touch asking what this all has to do with me. The answer is very simple: absolutely nothing. 

Roger Daltrey has been talking about a Keith Moon movie for well over ten years. [emphasis, mine] He was talking about it a long time before I started doing the Keith Moon book, he was talking about it while I was doing the Keith Moon book - it was the main reason he gave not to take part in my biography, that my research would conflict with his project - and he was talking about it after I completed the Keith Moon book. Indeed, he called me before the book came out and in the middle of a strange conversation in which he alternately criticised and praised my biography, he asked me to hold publication of the book for six months, after which time he assured me there would be a Keith Moon movie on the screens that I would be able to better tie in publication with. That was 1997. It's now 2002. I can't say that his Keith Moon movie is not getting made - I know he has financed various scripts with his own money - but I can say it hasn't yet gone into anything close to production. Along the way, Daltrey has occasionally bad-mouthed my Keith Moon biography in public, which I think is a shame. I recognise that Roger loved Keith greatly, and I can understand why he might feel he has a more accurate and sympathetic view of Keith than does a biographer, but of course I stand by the quality of my book, and I regret that Roger doesn't agree with the many thousands of Who fans who feel that it told Keith's story with love and integrity.
Having stated all of the above, I think it is clear that if Roger Daltrey does get to make a movie on Keith's life, it will not be based on my biography. It will be based on Roger's own memories of KEith's life.

To complicate matters, there had been another movie in the works. Around the end of 1995, just as I was starting research on 'Dear Boy,' Robert de Niro's company Tribeca bought the rights to Dougal Butler's book Full Moonand set about planning to make a 'buddy movie' based on the two mens' escapades. To this end, they had Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais ('Auf Wiedersehn Pet,' 'The Commitments,' 'Still Crazy') write a script, which I have not seen. This movie got held up, possibly even waylaid, when Pete Townshend refused Tribeca permission to use Who songs; by 1996, once the Who had gotten back together, then to my understanding Daltrey leaned hard on Townshend to ensure that the only person who would get permission to use Who songs in a Keith Moon movie would be Daltrey himself. Roger was particularly put out by his feeling that Tribeca's movie would simply trivialise Keith's life and has always claimed that his own movie will concentrate on the real Keith, the sad Keith, the tormented Keith.

Will it happen? Who will play Moon? Mike Myers is now simply too old to do it. He's fifty years old and there is no way he can convincingly play a young Keith Moon. To do the part justice, they will have to find an actor who can transmit Moon's physicality and hyperactive tendencies. The man was sheer muscle and movement and had a number of qualities that are going to make casting difficult. Whoever plays Moon won't necessarily have to be an amazing drummer but they will have to be athletic enough and capable of portraying Moon's manic personality.

One of the things that has always bugged me is that people think Moon actually played his drums the way he was shown on television. The difference between Moon playing along in a television studio with a pre-recorded song and Moon playing live drums is like night and day. If the filmmakers decide that capturing Moon's abilities is secondary to his behavior and his interactions with people, the film will be incomplete. I don't know how you can tell his story without showing people, in some dramatic way, just how good he was on the drums.

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