Brando's Feature: Movie Ideas

This page last updated on September 20, 1997
NOTE: What is going to follow on this page are ideas I have had since 1990 concerning a full length silver-screen Badfinger movie. I have sent these ideas to several places since 1994 and the response I have gotten is that if Badfinger ever has another hit then a movie would be a real possibility. To this belief I say hogwash! How many of you knew about the guy in the movie "Shine" before it hit the theatres. I say all you need is a good story. Badfinger's story is a great story (sad but compelling) that could be successful on the silver-screen if told correctly. I will be giving these ideas on this page in the very near future so stay tuned......Please note, I am NOT a writer, just a longtime fan with some ideas that I would like to share...

In a Goldmine Magazine article in 1993 about the Raspberries, there was mention of a possible movie about their band. I got to thinking if their was a movie about the Raspberries what would be the concept of the plot. Band gets to together, have some success, band breaks up, the end. I like the Raspberries, but their story is typical of any other band that has had some success. Badfinger, on the otherhand, has a message to give about being taken by the business aspect of music as well as the personal tragedies within the band.

If there is to be a movie about Badfinger, it's center has to concern the life of Pete Ham. He must be the central character as the crux of what would make Badfinger's story interesting to the masses is what leads to his tragic death. As I have said in numerous emails and letters: I would gladly trade the concept of a Badfinger movie for Pete Ham being alive and recording Badfinger's 20th album, watching their induction into the rock'n'roll hall of fame and seeing the entire band in concert a few times. Pete's life is the story that could captivate an audience. Gary Katz, Joey & Kathie Molland, Mike Gibbins all recognized this in the documentary as well by detailing things about Pete and his life because we the fans wanted to know.

To that end, the arrival of "7 Park Avenue" shed new light on Pete Ham the individual, because it is such a personal and heartfelt disc. At this time , September 20, I have only included the ideas I sent around in 1994. However, after listening to Pete's "7 Park Avenue" and digesting the liner notes and lyrics and watching the documentary, I would also incorporate a few more things such as: Pete's relationship with Bev Ellis, add two more songs to the soundtrack, Sille Veb and No More (clearly shows Pete's state of mind in the Spring of 75) and Mike's getting left behind a few times as comic relief. I also have in mind a possible second opening scene with Pete and John Ham fixing a television at someone's house. While they are fixing the set Pete tries to tell his brother he wants to quit doing tv repair so he can play music full-time. They talk a bit and both worry about how their mom will take the news. Second scene: Pete telling his mom...

Concept: A movie about the lives of a rock'n'roll band that are torn apart by their greedy manager. The story of Badfinger (with the use of creative license). Spanning the years 1967 to 1979. The movie would show their discovery, success, downfall, love interests, tragedy, and comeback. Main characters would be Pete, it is the circumstances around his death that make the story & Joey who tries to convince the band that they are in a bad situation and need to take action to separate themselves from their manager.

Movie Title: First, the title of the movie. This is perhaps the most important part of the movie, considering how audiences can be fickle from the outset. As much as I think Badfinger is the greatest group that ever walked the earth (this includes the Beatles - who to me are a close 2nd) a movie called "The Badfinger Story" will not work. The band is not as popular (yet) as the Doors, Rolling Stones, Beatles or Elvis, thus the bands name is not a selling point. But the band's story (& music) is every bit as compelling as any of the previously mentioned artists. I believe the title of the movie should be "We're For the Dark" or "We're For the Dark (a rock-n-roll story)". This title is mysterious which would leave potential patrons curious, "It's a rock-n-roll story like Eddie & the Cruisers" perhaps they will say. Keeping the mystery in the title is important! Who was Forest Gump before we all saw him in action!

Opening Credits: If the title is "We're For the Dark", then the title song is already recorded (less expenses). I picture the opening credits as follows: The screen is black, you can here the strumming of the title song getting louder and slowly the screen begins to show a guitar close up being strummed. Only the strumming can be seen (no faces) as the song plays the opening credits roll. As the song closes the screen slowly begins to fade to black again. The song is beautiful and gentle and sets up the movie nicely.

First Scene: A smoke filled barroom is shown in black and white. A band is playing in the background, they are a good band and the audience seems to like them. When there set is over, one of the members of the band comes over to the bar and informs an older gentleman there that they will be ready to leave in about 30 minutes. The older gentleman is the bands manager (i.e. Bill Collins). He remains sitting at the bar staring at his cigarette and drink as the next band begins to play in the background. As he sits there, he begins to listen to the band (though he does not yet turn around to see them). When he begins to turn around to look at the band, the camera switches from looking at the manager to cutting through the smoke filled room and then to showing the band. As the camera pans towards the band through the smoke, the films slowly changes to color signifying that this is band this story is about and this is the moment they are discovered.

The high and low points of the band's career that I feel should be used in the movie, however I realize that not all can be used, these are just suggestions:

Key point 1: the band is discovered (1967), see first scene

Key point 2:Ron's exit from the band (1969)

Key point 3: Paul helps with Come and Get It - 1st hit (1969)

Key point 4: Joey's entrance (auditions with "Better Days") We know he didn't, but it works Joey's talent in nicely, using artistic license. The band gets along fine. (1969)

Key point 5: self-penned hit No Matter What. Joey shows Pete how to toughen the bands sound, and Pete show Joey how to make his tunes more melodic. (1970)

Key point 6: Badfinger arguing with Apple to release "Without You". I know it didn't happen with this song (No Matter What) but it gets the song in the movie and people will say "Oh I didn't know they did that too." and hopefully they will be even more interested in what will follow. (late 1970) Both young and older audience members would recognize this song.

Key point 7: On tour the band sounds good but feels there money could be better managed to purchase better equipment for the road shows. (1970) In a comic moment Pete's brother John notices Pete's shoes are tattered and wonders why he has not bought new ones with all their success. Pete says he can't afford it, to which John gives Pete the shoes (boots) he is wearing. It is a nice personal touch. (This is symbolic of the bands money woes and actually happened according toJohn Ham) (1970)

Key point 8: The band hires Polley to manage money, Collins still to manage band. (1971)
Key point 9: Bangladesh concert (1971)

Key point 10: Day After Day a hit, Baby Blue a hit, Without You & Day After Day earn gold records, the band live in castle, life is good and it seems that it can only get better. All romantic relationships seem to be going well at this time also. (1972)

Key point 11: the wranglings that delay the release of Ass, the bands request for a new recording studio being denied. Sent on the road with nothing to promote and the equipment which never was replaced starts to breakdown. There requests to Polley for better equipment are answered with politeness, but nothing materializes. (late 1972)

Key point 12: Polley uses the band name to get Warners contract (he sees the dollar signs), unbeknownst to the band. The album Badfinger doesn't do anything on the charts. (1973)

Key point 13: Tension builds between band members, concerning money and the direction of the band and Joey hints the Polley may not always be acting in the bands best interest. (1974)

Key point 14: The recording of Wish You Were Here, tensions still running high, but the effort put into the album is extraordinary. The band believes this is there best album to date. Also show the band reading reviews of the album to bolster the belief that this is a grand album that will return the band to glory. The album gets a great jump on the charts and airplay around the country. (1974)

Key point 15: Some of the band members are in a record shop and notice their record is not on the shelves. The ask shop owner and he informs them he was told to remove them from the shelves and send back to Warners. (late 1974)

Key point 16: the band seeks answers from Polley, he tries to sidestep issue. Joey finds out more by making calls. Joey confronts Polley who plays innocent. Tension reaches fever pitch as Joey says the band should leave Polley, and Pete is adamant about staying, claiming Polley can work things out for the band. Joey disagrees claims Polley is the problem and leaves band. (I know Pete left first, but it would be to complicated for the audience). In steps Bob Jackson. Pete, Tommy begin drinking heavily, while waiting for things to be worked out. (late 1974)

Key point 17: Polley tells them to record next album (Head First), that everything will work out. Band records a descent album without Joey. Show the band recording "Mr. Manager" to show there displeasure with management. (early 1975)

Key point 18: Warners refuses the album, can't take album anywhere else because their ` under contract and Warners is suing the band. They are truly locked in a box. Band becomes very depressed Pete & Tom are drinking heavily. (1975)

Key point 19: Pete makes one last attempt to contact Polley in U.S. He is informed over the phone by one of Polley's representatives that he is broke and their is nothing Polley can do for him.

Key point 20: Pete's death: How to respectfully show Pete's death: Tommy and Pete are drinking and Pete acknowledges they have to get away from Polley. Pete drops Tommy of at 2 in the morning and walks home in the dark. As Pete is walking home the song "Name of the Game" slowly emerges (the bonus track version on Straight Up). He is slightly stumbling but as the camera draws closer you can detect the tears in his eyes, feeling that he has been totally beaten by the industry and flat broke because of it. He is shown entering his home in the dark, writing a note on the kitchen table while in tears, and stumbles to the garage. He takes of his shoes and sets them in the corner. This is the last we actually see of Pete, while the song Name of the Game is the only thing heard on the screen, we see his girlfriend Anne discovering the suicide (by silhouette) and the next thing we know the police, Tommy and Marianne are there for comfort. There is no audible dialogue during this time only the song playing, the faces of the actors should be enough. At some point during this the camera pans down to show the boots were the same ones given to him by his brother some years earlier. (ie things never really got better) (1975)

Key point 21: Polley asking Ann shortly after funeral to sign paper acknowledging Polley had no wrongdoing in Pete's death. Ann refuses to sign and argues with him, "Where were you when Pete needed you!"

Key point 22: Band splits, struggling making it on their own, making ends meet is difficult for all involved except Polley.

Key point 23: Joey who walked away from it all years earlier starts talking with other band members about getting things worked out. Joey (& Kathie) take it upon themselves to find proof of Polley misconduct and separate all ties with band.

Key point 24: Joey finds proof threatens Polley, money is returned. (or however dramatic we can make this scene)

Key point 25: Band reunites, and movie closes with the band performing, "Love is Gonna Come at Last" on stage as the film ends and the credits roll. In audience at show is Ann and her daughter to show support for the band.

Character Development:

A talented and trusting youth who, when he put his faith in someone it wasn't easily shaken (this would be his downfall). He is only concerned with being the best musician he can be and making the band successful. He is blindsided by the business dealing that are the bands undoing.

A tough nosed musician, who brings a rock'n'roll edge to the band. He is good natured and becomes good friends with the band and his realization the band is getting ripped off puts strain on friendships even though they record together through the turmoil (show Joey & Pete at same microphone singing "You're So Fine"

Good natured, likes to have a drink, Pete and Tom are good friends and start drinking heavily together when it all starts to fall apart.

Quiet and good natured, always struggling to get one of his songs on an album, but shines through brilliantly with his two tracks from the ill-fated album Wish You Were Here.

Likeable person who has bands best interest at heart, but realizes he is no business man and searches for someone to manage the bands money: (Sean Connery if he is available for this part)

Shady from the start, but band is to naive to pick up anything except Joey who has suspicions early. (Tommy Lee Jones a good actor for this part)

The wives & girlfriends:
Kathie's involvement with Joey in investigating Stan P., should be in the movie as well, however I know very little of what the other wives & girlfriends did to support the band. Bev & Ann would need to be in the movie, as Pete's love interests (these are probably good side stories: how Joey meets Kathie and Pete meets Ann)

The actors to portray the band:
They should be good English / Welch actors, but not necessarily popular actors in the U.S. It may be hard for audiences to picture Brad Pitt or Keanu Reeves (even though he is in a band) as a singer. As for everyone else, the wives and managers, they can be as big a name as you can find. Wyona Ryder might make a good Kathie Molland, Sean Connery as Bill Collins, Tommy Lee Jones as Stan P. (he's a great actor who plays a lot of bad guys).

Songs for the soundtrack of Were For the Dark

1. We're For the Dark - movie title and a beautiful song to set mood
2. Surrender - when the band is discovered (this is on a BBC Iveys bootleg)
3. Come and Get It - shows Paul McCartney's involvement
4. Better Days - Joey auditions with this song.
5. No Matter What - get the hits in the movie so people will say "I know that"
6. Without You - the band argues with Apple over it's release
7. Perfection - band shows its belief in peace & anti-war statement
8. Suitcase or Sweet Tuesday Morning - band is shown in recording studio
9. Money - band shown recording in studio
10. Day After Day - hit
11. Baby Blue - hit
12. One from Ass, Apple of My Eye,Constitution, Get Away or When I Say
13. Love is Easy, Island or Andy Norris- Joey rocks
14. I Miss You or Lonely You - great songs but show the band maybe loosing it's edge.
15. You're So Fine - Joey & Pete working through the turmoil
16. Some other Time or Got to Get Out of Here - Joey puts in a big effort
17. Just a Chance - Pete puts in a big effort on Wish You Were Here
18. Mr. Manager - band acknowledges in song that something is wrong.
19. Name of the Game - song used in Pete's death sequence.
20. Love is Gonna Come at Last - Uplifting song to close movie.

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