The Fassbender-Sidebottom Situation, Clarified

A few years ago now, I read a draft of Jon Ronson and Peter Straughan’s Frank. Then, just a few days ago, we learned that Michael Fassbender was attached to take the title role. As I understood it, his character was written as a rather heavily fictionalised interpretation of Timperely’s finest, Frank Sidebottom.

You may need my previous post for some priming here.

Well, while the story was hot, Ronson took to Twitter for a touch of clarification.

I’ve since swapped emails with Jon, to see what more he could tidy up. Here’s what he told me.

I remember you telling me a few years ago that someone had given you a copy of an early draft of the script. The script has gone through many drafts since then and is now very radically different. So the thing you read will bear very little resemblance the film.

I don’t want to give any more details than the ones I mentioned on twitter: I don’t want to be a spoiler. The less people know the better… I hate knowing anything about a film before it starts in the cinema. My favorite memories of seeing movies are when I knew nothing. Like the joy of the first time I saw Let The Right One In.

I don’t know if you remember Ronson’s enthusiasm for Let The Right One In but for a few weeks he was making it seem like the thing that got him out of bed in the morning. Amazing, but actually very infectious.

Now, Ronson did not respond directly to my queries about “the head” or the accuracy of the old Film 4 blurb which directly mentions it. There’s no reason to think they’re specifically inaccurate now, of course, but I am actually feeling pretty much in the dark about the film again.

Which is kind of exciting.

Still, I’d bet you a really big bag of chips that ‘movie Frank’ does still wear the head, from time to time. Changing the ideas so much that this image would no longer be relevant would be like rewriting Star Wars to set it all in Stockport.

So, I’m not expecting the Chris Sievey story here but some of that Frank Sidebottom feeling, and some bigger, broader, ideas about “great mavericks.” Sounds perfect.

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