Author Topic: How Would You Do a U2 Biopic  (Read 722 times)

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Offline Argo

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How Would You Do a U2 Biopic
« on: September 08, 2019, 11:54:47 PM »
With Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman having been done, and I think Adam recently said it would be cool if a U2 biopic was ever done, what period of their career could actually make it work for a movie? They never had the issues that Freddie Mercury and Elton had with excesses etc (notwithstanding how historically wrong Bohemian Rhapsody is at times) that enabled those movies to focus on.

Maybe you could cover their beginnings, religious conflicts of the October era and through to superstardom of JT, the self indulgence of R&H and reach the climax of the film by focusing on the direction and whether the band will break up leading into Achtung Baby and finish with the start of the Zoo TV Tour.

Doing something with Bono's activism is probably hard to make work, Adam's drinking issues were mild compared to most rock star excesses and issues like tax residency are simply too dull.

So, how could you do a biopic about U2?



Offline DulmoU2

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Re: How Would You Do a U2 Biopic
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2019, 09:54:48 AM »
I would focus on the era around Bono's fathers death, maybe flow between Bono flashbacking about how he got there with his father in his deathbed and the peak of the elevaton tour.

Offline SwimmingSorrows

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Re: How Would You Do a U2 Biopic
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2019, 12:27:16 PM »
I'd follow a similar plotline to the From the Sky Down documentary with flashbacks to the early days of forming the band and personal events like Bono's mother dying if they fit in somewhere. 

The rockstar origin story has been done a number of times now, and U2 doesn't have the "sex, drugs, and rock n' roll" dark period to go into like Elton John and Freddie Mercury had.  I think you could make a really good movie about the tensions within the band unit that arose during the making of Achtung Baby.  Watching the band work through that and work out how to stay together while also making arguably their best work could be really interesting if done right. 

The thing that makes U2's story unique is that the band is really a family.  If they do end up making a movie, it can't just be about Bono in the way the Queen movie was about Freddie.  It needs to be about the band as a family, and I think the Berlin sessions and the discovery of their new sound is the best way into that.

Offline laoghaire

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Re: How Would You Do a U2 Biopic
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2019, 07:26:54 PM »
Agreed, not a Bono story but a U2 story.

What about a theme of "how we figured out how to use our music to bring people together?" And it touches on both them bringing audiences together and also learning how to grow together as not just a band but a brotherhood.

They could set up the problem around October, where they are thinking of calling it quits because the band doesn't (seem to) fit with their faith. "Is rock and roll just vanity or can it be something really worthwhile?"

They continue by trying to make music that cares. They have some good night where they connected with the audience in special ways and vow to continue that.

They make it big with JT. The spotlight is hard. There are problems with each other, at home, etc.

They chop down the JT and Bono put on a mask. They are living it high for them, Adam is having a hard time, Edge is having a hard time, Bono is being a p****. They make music wondering about how to separate the superficial bubblegum from what really matters.

They continue to find moments. Sarajevo is a big one. Maybe there are little ones, profound little moments.

Climax is Streets at the Super Bowl, using their magic to bring an entire nation and its friends together in a time of significant crisis. Yes, rock and roll can transcend.

Offline Argo

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Re: How Would You Do a U2 Biopic
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2019, 08:10:41 PM »
Thinking about it more, a key thing obviously has to be the music and that means that JT and AB have to heavily feature. Just look at how successful the JT30 tour has been. So maybe start the movie with the launch of JT and with flashbacks to the formation of the band and difficulties of October. And include Sunday Bloody Sunday being performed in Northern Ireland (I think Bono said to the audience, if you don't like it, we will never play it again - and they loved it. Would be a good movie moment).

And second half of the movie can focus on the band almost falling apart before AB, Bono losing the AB Tapes! and Berlin. The recording of One saves the day and could be done really well in a movie and include some stuff re Bono thinking up MacPhisto (I have no idea where he got that from). Movie ends with Zoo TV underway.

Offline u2live

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Re: How Would You Do a U2 Biopic
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2019, 09:12:51 AM »
As many already mentioned U2 overall has had a squeaky clean image.  The JT raise to super-stardom to AB is where I'd start but I would go a different angle then showing how Bono's activism along with backlash he receives from both the band and critics affects him behind the camera.  Focusing in on much time effort, blood sweat and tears HE has truly put in for a worthwhile cause trying to make the world a better place stretching himself all over the world sacrificing time away from family and friends.  I always felt that Bono will be appreciated more when he is no longer alive........but not to U2's die hard fans.

Offline SwimmingSorrows

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Re: How Would You Do a U2 Biopic
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2019, 04:14:49 AM »
I think bringing in the activism would be a mistake.  They have to be careful not to seem like they're patting themselves on the back or only showing their good side with the movie.  It should be focused on the personal and should cover a period with quality music (so no Octobor imo), and it should be an honest portrayal of the band members, flaws included. 

I don't think they should make a movie yet, though.  Public perception of the band is not in a good place right now.  Unless they fix that or retire, I think the movie will probably flop.  Even then, it still might.

Offline laoghaire

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Re: How Would You Do a U2 Biopic
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2019, 02:20:23 PM »
I don't think anyone is suggesting the music of October should be in the film, just a reference to them strongly considering breaking up the band, which happened in that era. Though a few seconds of Gloria would be fine for early music if we needed it.

I agree the activism stuff is basically a third rail. I'd personally be interested, but it won't fly.

A biopic might be a total mistake anyway, yeah. Freddie is dead so that's okay. Elton is saying goodbye. U2 will be seen as looking to milk it, especially since their haters are far more numerous and passionate than Elton's and Freddie's combined. (Not sure I've even come across a Freddie hater or Elton hater. Bono haters otoh...).

Online Tortuga

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Re: How Would You Do a U2 Biopic
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2019, 06:44:59 PM »
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I don't think they should make a movie yet, though.  Public perception of the band is not in a good place right now.  Unless they fix that or retire, I think the movie will probably flop.  Even then, it still might.

No one should ever make their own biopic.  It’s untoward and has no credibility as a legitimate trustworthy narrative.  It wouldn’t be a biopic, it would just be a movie U2 made about themselves.  Its bad enough they made two entire albums about themselves.  Please, not a movie too.

Offline daveyg

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Re: How Would You Do a U2 Biopic
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2019, 03:53:22 AM »
Strange as it may sound, I think it may be a bit early in U2's career to make a biopic. The big centre fold of their career to date is the release of Achtung Baby, so if a biopic was to be done today, it should be based around a "before and after" that IMO. Heavy early days touring-Live Aid- R&H/Lovetown-AB-subsequent work. And October should get some insight - not the full album - but maybe as a background for the two minutes of the movie covering that part of their career.

Religion (Shalom) and Adam's drinking incident should be kept in

All my opinion if it were done now.

But I think it's way too early. It'd be interesting to see what break they'll take after JT30 down under tour, and what releases (if any) eventually come out after that. If there's little of nothing of worth in ten years time, it might be worth a look at a movie at that stage.

Online Tortuga

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How Would You Do a U2 Biopic
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2019, 05:36:28 AM »
Biopics should not be done on people still living.  Just my opinion.

Offline SwimmingSorrows

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Re: How Would You Do a U2 Biopic
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2019, 08:51:11 PM »
Yeah, it isn't time to do one yet.  If they were going to do one, though, I think a career retrospective would be a mistake.  Their career is just too long and has too many different periods and looks and styles etc etc.  Any film made about their whole career would be a narrative mess, and you'd have to get different actors to play them at different ages.  It should be one focused story, and, as others have said, the band should only be a resource for the screenwriter, not be screenwriters themselves.  When you let the band get involved, you get Bohemian Rhapsody trying to make the other members of Queen look good. 

Offline Luzita

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Re: How Would You Do a U2 Biopic
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2019, 12:07:16 PM »
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Yeah, it isn't time to do one yet.  If they were going to do one, though, I think a career retrospective would be a mistake.  Their career is just too long and has too many different periods and looks and styles etc etc.  Any film made about their whole career would be a narrative mess, and you'd have to get different actors to play them at different ages.  It should be one focused story, and, as others have said, the band should only be a resource for the screenwriter, not be screenwriters themselves.  When you let the band get involved, you get Bohemian Rhapsody trying to make the other members of Queen look good.
As much as I would love a U2 movie, I think I have to agree with much of this. It’s too soon. And the band should be resources for the screenwriters, not the screenwriters. I also agree that the movie should focus on a particular part of their career, with some bits showing their longevity included. U2 lacks the sex, drugs, rock-and-roll aspect that makes for good cinematic drama so the movie makers would need to focus on a period of their careers with a different sort of drama. I think the beginning is probably the best bet - from the notice on the bulletin board from Larry to their breakout concert at Red Rocks. With something to indicate the same four school friends still together 40 years later, after achieving phenomenal success. This would cover their early struggles, Bono’s difficult family situation, the death of Larry’s mom, almost breaking up over spiritual concerns, the sophomore slump of October, the drama of Red Rocks nearly getting cancelled due to weather before triumphantly going forward. And the overall arc of four random teenagers coming together to form a rock powerhouse that has stood the test of time, which is familiar to U2 fans but remains an extremely unlikely and remarkable true story.


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Offline SwimmingSorrows

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Re: How Would You Do a U2 Biopic
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2019, 07:23:15 PM »
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Yeah, it isn't time to do one yet.  If they were going to do one, though, I think a career retrospective would be a mistake.  Their career is just too long and has too many different periods and looks and styles etc etc.  Any film made about their whole career would be a narrative mess, and you'd have to get different actors to play them at different ages.  It should be one focused story, and, as others have said, the band should only be a resource for the screenwriter, not be screenwriters themselves.  When you let the band get involved, you get Bohemian Rhapsody trying to make the other members of Queen look good.
As much as I would love a U2 movie, I think I have to agree with much of this. It’s too soon. And the band should be resources for the screenwriters, not the screenwriters. I also agree that the movie should focus on a particular part of their career, with some bits showing their longevity included. U2 lacks the sex, drugs, rock-and-roll aspect that makes for good cinematic drama so the movie makers would need to focus on a period of their careers with a different sort of drama. I think the beginning is probably the best bet - from the notice on the bulletin board from Larry to their breakout concert at Red Rocks. With something to indicate the same four school friends still together 40 years later, after achieving phenomenal success. This would cover their early struggles, Bono’s difficult family situation, the death of Larry’s mom, almost breaking up over spiritual concerns, the sophomore slump of October, the drama of Red Rocks nearly getting cancelled due to weather before triumphantly going forward. And the overall arc of four random teenagers coming together to form a rock powerhouse that has stood the test of time, which is familiar to U2 fans but remains an extremely unlikely and remarkable true story.


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I like this idea a lot too.  the timeline of their first 3 albums works really well narratively, promising first album, then trouble and a somewhat lackluster second record, the "lowest point" of the narrative as these friends almost quit, and then the triumph of the War album and Red Rocks to finish it off.  I think the scene where they first played Sunday Bloody Sunday in Northern Ireland and said they would never play it again if that crowd didn't like it would make a great turning point in the story.  A big risk that pays off.  Also, the story finishes with a great concert, which always works well.  The atmosphere of the Red Rocks show is incredibly cinematic, as well. 

Offline Luzita

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How Would You Do a U2 Biopic
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2019, 09:42:44 AM »
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Yeah, it isn't time to do one yet.  If they were going to do one, though, I think a career retrospective would be a mistake.  Their career is just too long and has too many different periods and looks and styles etc etc.  Any film made about their whole career would be a narrative mess, and you'd have to get different actors to play them at different ages.  It should be one focused story, and, as others have said, the band should only be a resource for the screenwriter, not be screenwriters themselves.  When you let the band get involved, you get Bohemian Rhapsody trying to make the other members of Queen look good.
As much as I would love a U2 movie, I think I have to agree with much of this. It’s too soon. And the band should be resources for the screenwriters, not the screenwriters. I also agree that the movie should focus on a particular part of their career, with some bits showing their longevity included. U2 lacks the sex, drugs, rock-and-roll aspect that makes for good cinematic drama so the movie makers would need to focus on a period of their careers with a different sort of drama. I think the beginning is probably the best bet - from the notice on the bulletin board from Larry to their breakout concert at Red Rocks. With something to indicate the same four school friends still together 40 years later, after achieving phenomenal success. This would cover their early struggles, Bono’s difficult family situation, the death of Larry’s mom, almost breaking up over spiritual concerns, the sophomore slump of October, the drama of Red Rocks nearly getting cancelled due to weather before triumphantly going forward. And the overall arc of four random teenagers coming together to form a rock powerhouse that has stood the test of time, which is familiar to U2 fans but remains an extremely unlikely and remarkable true story.


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I like this idea a lot too.  the timeline of their first 3 albums works really well narratively, promising first album, then trouble and a somewhat lackluster second record, the "lowest point" of the narrative as these friends almost quit, and then the triumph of the War album and Red Rocks to finish it off.  I think the scene where they first played Sunday Bloody Sunday in Northern Ireland and said they would never play it again if that crowd didn't like it would make a great turning point in the story.  A big risk that pays off.  Also, the story finishes with a great concert, which always works well.  The atmosphere of the Red Rocks show is incredibly cinematic, as well.
Yes, playing Sunday Bloody Sunday in Northern Ireland is another dramatic moment. Then there’s the times Bono climbed the scaffolding, including the concert where he jumped off a second story balcony into the crowd. There’s definitely lots to work with.


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« Last Edit: September 17, 2019, 09:44:35 AM by Luzita »