Why Clockwork Angels Will be Made into a Movie
Predictions are like advice: cheap to give and usually best ignored. Even so, I feel compelled to give my two cents on Clockwork Angels. It will be made into a movie in a few years.
As with any good conspiracy theory, all the pieces are in place:
1. A COMPLETE STORY, WITH AN EPIC NARRATIVE ARC. You have the young boy in a tightly controlled futuristic society who yearns for adventure. He leaves the farm, has his adventure, learns from his experiences, and closes the circle of his life by returning to nature with the people he’s learned are the most important to him. I mean, this has already been written into a book.
2. INTRIGUING VISUALS. Few genres are more visually exciting than steampunk, so from a movie standpoint, Clockwork Angels is a dream come true. And thanks to the album and book art created by long-time Rush collaborator Hugh Syme, you have the template for a rich visual canvas on which to base a movie.
4. LOTS OF BUZZ. Clockwork Angels debuted earlier this month at No. 1 on Amazon, No. 2 on Billboard, and No. 3 on iTunes. People have been talking about this album for two years. The band has been interviewed by Rolling Stone, Deep Tracks on Sirius XM, Planet Rock . . . album reviews are showing up everywhere, talk of the band finally getting into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is escalating . . . the buzz factor is high.
5. THE BAND CAN’T GO ON FOREVER. And a big film is a way to go out with a bang. The story of Rush is a story of validation. When the band first started out, the mainstream music establishment largely ignored them. Geddy’s voice was the brunt of jokes, Alex’s guitar playing got no respect, Neil’s lyrics were pretentious and channeled a kooky Ayn Randian ideology, and he played too many drums, all of them with the passion of a mathematician. Meanwhile, musicians and music aficionados loved them, so you had this great narrative tension. Now they’re nearing their 40-year anniversary, their old critics are in nursing homes, their fans are in leadership positions in business, science, government, and the arts, and they’re looked to as elder statesmen of rock. They’ve won top honors in Canada, a documentary has been made of them, and they’re riding high. People want to know what wine Geddy drinks and what golf clubs Alex swings. BMW will no doubt come out with a Neil Peart edition of its popular R1100 GS touring bike. They’re at the top of their game, so what better way to move on to the next chapter of their lives by having their latest album made into an epic science fiction movie with fantastic special effects?
6. THEY’RE ALL EXPERIENCED IN THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY. Geddy last year optioned the movie rights to Baseballissimo, so he’s kind of a movie mogul already. When the movie version of that is released, he’ll be the executive producer. Alex put together The Big Dirty band to do the music score for The Trailer Park Boys: The Movie in 2006 and he was the featured guiartist for the score to Richard Gere’s 2011 spy thriller The Double. Together the three of them have been involved in dozens of movies, in various capacities, and they’re chums with so many in the TV and film industries. When they call to talk about getting Clockwork Angels made into a movie, there will be people who will pick up the phone.
7. THEY’VE LONG WANTED TO DO A SOUNDTRACK. I can’t remember the exact interviews, but both Alex and Geddy have said they’d like to do a movie soundtrack someday. Done. Now they just need the movie to go with it.
8. THEY’LL EACH PLAY A CAMEO ROLE. Neil will be the anarchist. He told Jim Ladd in an interview earlier this month that he loves the character of the anarchist. And he’s got the voice for it. He narrated the audio version of the book, so we know he’s been practicing that voice thing. Alex is a genuinely funny actor. His stint as the border patrol guard in the 2009 film Suck was a classic. I predict he’ll be the pedlar, who’s really the watchmaker in disguise and the nemesis of the anarchist. Can’t you see it? and Geddy will be one of the carnies in Crown City. The carnival is full of colorful characters, and since Geddy already looks like he’s traveled through Mordor and made it out again, he’s a perfect fit for a side character in the carnival. The lead character? That would be Tom Hanks, who sure bears a close resemblance to Neil sometimes.
9. KEVIN J. ANDERSON NEEDS ONE OF HIS BOOKS TO BE MADE INTO A MOVIE ALREADY. He co-wrote a book called Ignition that Universal Studios has optioned, but he’s yet to see one of his stories made into a movie. This man’s time has come.
10. HOLLYWOOD IS TIMID, AND THIS IS A SAFE PROJECT. When was the last time Hollywood came out with something truly new and original? Most of its blockbusters today are based on comic book characters or they’re sequels or remakes. Don’t expect Hollywood to get a brain transplant and suddenly become innovative and original. Clockwork Angels fits into its playbook because it’s safe. It’s got special effects. It’s got love interests. It’s got cool music. Plus, Rush is bankable. Kevin J. Anderson in bankable. Clockwork Angels the movie is bankable.
11. THE PHILOSOPHY IS RIGHT. Rush has long been associated with individualism, and its big pieces, including “2112” and Clockwork Angels, are epics about individualism. That’s a philosophical point of view that has a growing resonance across the ideological spectrum. It’s all about self-reliance and the can-do spirit. That’s what we need today with the global economy in the doldrums.
Mark my words, Clockwork Angels wil be made into a movie. And if it’s not, just remember that predictions are like advice: cheap to give and usually best ignored.—-Rob Freedman, Rush Vault
Read album liner notes.