Fashion and pop music impresario Malcolm McLaren was best known for created the Sex Pistols and popularising punk music, injecting it directly into the vein of mainstream culture and society.
But during the 1980s, he repeatedly attempted to make a film called Fashion Beast, an updating of the Beauty and the Beast fable set in the fashion world, utilising aspects of his life and commissioned a screenplay from Alan Moore in 1985, based in part on Malcolm’s life.
Funded by Robert Boykin and later Avenue Pictures, several drafts were written and rewritten by Steve Means from the Alan Moore script, but with Boykin’s death the project died too and McLaren moved onto other projects.
And this week we learned of McLaren’s death, aged 64, from cancer. It is sad he will never see Fashion Beast come to life.
Because next year Avatar Press, publishers of the BleedingCool website, will publish a 250 page graphic novel based on that original Alan Moore screenplay and McLaren’s original story. Adapted for comics by Antony Johnston, current Daredevil co-writer and adapter of Moore’s Courtyard and Light Of Thy Countenance, it will be drawn by Facundo Percio (Anna Mercury.) This project has been in the works for many years, after Avatar’s William Christensen first met Malcolm McLaren in 2003, with the blessing of both McLaren and Moore.
There now follows exclusive first pieces of artwork to be seen from the project – one page of inked unlettered, uncoloured art – and two of sketches.
In 2000, Alan Moore talked to Barry Kavanagh about the project, describing its origin thus;
The other thing in that biography was you did something for Malcolm McLaren, something called Fashion Beast. Was that a film?
That was great. It was the only time I’ve – I’ve got no interest in writing for films at all, or getting anywhere near Hollywood or stuff like that but Malcolm McLaren got in touch with me and said that he’d got two or three film properties that he’d like to develop, would I like to meet up with him, choose one of them and see if I could come up with anything? So I met up with him, he’s a charming bloke, he’s really funny, really intelligent and certainly did alright by me.
He actually paid you then, yeah!
I got all the money I was promised, even though he didn’t actually use – I mean, apparently, according to his autobiography, the screenplay that I turned in was just what he wanted but by then, through circumstances beyond my control or his, the money had run out on the project at its source, so it never got made. So I got the experience of writing a screenplay, I don’t know how good it was. It was probably over-clever. I remember him saying that I really ought to leave something for the director to do, because I was writing the screenplay the way I would one of my comics, where you’re talking about camera angles, you’re talking about composition but yeah, it was fun. I just did it mainly because I wanted to work with Malcolm McLaren. He’s somebody that I’ve got a lot of admiration for and you know, it was a laugh. I got paid, I got to meet Malcolm McLaren and hang out with him and Lauren Hutton, who’s one of the most beautiful and nice women -certainly celebrity women – that I’ve ever met. She’s really great, I mean ’cause she used to be a supermodel.
Were they called “supermodels” back then, or just –
No, they weren’t, I mean, she was one who actually fought for rights for models. She kind of organized… and she’s terrific, she’s so self-effacing, she was really nice to spend an afternoon with. Stunningly beautiful and seemingly completely unaware of it, which is a rare combination. Now, her and Malcolm were a nice couple. It was worth doing it just to meet them and the fact that I got thirty thousand quid or whatever for writing the script, that wasn’t bad either.
And finally we will get to see what Malcolm and Alan had in mind. I guess it’s fashionable to be late.