Director Simon Emmett has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help complete his film about Lowestoft rock legends The Darkness. The film is a “philosophical, darkly humorous and deeply personal” story covering the band’s comeback after enormous initial success was followed by periods of rehab, implosion and despair.
Emmett , who has previously worked with the likes of Jay-Z, Matt Damon, Helen Mirren, Ben Stiller and Idris Elba, has compiled over 250 hours of footage of the band in order to document their chaotic past and future hopes.
“I met Dan and Justin very briefly years ago through a mutual friend, their former stylist Lucy Manning, and they defied all expectations.,” says Emmett. “Years later Lucy connected Justin and me and I then invited them all to a screening of another film I made about Barnet FC’s old stadium called Underhill (opens in new tab).
“We went out together afterwards and having suggested to them - partly jokingly - that we should make a film about them, the idea sort of took hold over the course of the night. I found them all to be funny, charismatic, interesting and thoughtful – every story and every line had to end in a joke.. More and more they just seemed like the obvious choice for a film.”
“It’s not like the typical story of any commercial mainstream band that would be so predictable,” adds Emmet. “Very few people at that point knew what The Darkness had been doing since they vanished, and how it really was to have such enormous success so quickly and then for it to stop so abruptly or what impact that has on someone. Their responses to that were all very different, and telling and have lead them to where they are today.
“I don’t think it will be anything that anyone is expecting. I suppose it’s many men’s fantasy to be a rock star, but what is it really like, the good the bad and the ugly?
“Also, they have a second chance now with a new record label and their fifth album in the wings so I want to know what they really think about that. There’s a certain resilience that’s especially inspiring with everything they’ve been through and I want to explore what keeps them going, what keeps them motivated.”
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Amongst those appearing in the film is WWE Superstar and Fozzy frontman Chris Jericho, who is filmed after witnessing his first Darkness show.
“The two bands I really got into in 2003⁄2004 were Avenged Sevenfold and The Darkness,” says Jericho. “They’re two sides of the coin, but the thing they both did — at a time no one else was playing guitar solos — was play guitar solos. Not even Metallica.”
“This is a film about being true to yourself, even if that’s against the odds or means being unfashionable,” says Emmett. “It’s a celebration of individuality, of hope and finding strength in vulnerability and honesty. So I’m hoping that amongst the entertainment and inevitable poignancy, there will be an uplifting and inspiring take-out. As Dan says ‘every day you’re alive is a miracle really, especially if you’ve been in a rock band’”.