Hollywood has been trying to get a movie about The Smiths called Shoplifters of the World made for a few years now. According to a new report by Showbiz411 (via Pitchfork), the film is creeping closer towards a production start as Morrissey has given it his stamp of approval.
Starring Joe Manganiello, the movie is a fictionalization of a real plot hatched by a crazed Smiths fan back in 1988. The story goes that a young fan named James Kiss, upset over his favorite band’s split a year prior and the fact that his local radio channels never played any of their music, intended to hijack the number one station in Denver, CO. His plan was to hold the staff hostage at gun point and force them to spin nothing but Smiths and Morrissey music in place of their usual Top 40 catalog. However, he never actually carried out his scheme, abandoning the idea multiple times before finally giving himself up in the station’s parking lot.
Magnaniello, known for roles in True Blood, Sam Rami’s Spider-Man films, and Magic Mike, will reportedly star as the station’s DJ. The film will imagine events as if Kiss went forward with the plot, and will be set in 1987, the year The Smiths broke up.
Morrissey himself has given Shoplifters of the World his blessing, even aggreing to license The Smiths’ music for use in the film. “[Writer/director Stephen Kijak] had a previous relationship with Morrissey,” Mangnaniello told Collider in 2014, “and Morrissey agreed to give us the catalogue for a nice, affordable fee. Well, it’s not cheap, by any stretch of the imagination, but we have Morrissey’s blessing to move forward with a The Smiths project.”
Magnaniello will also produce alongside his brother Nick via their 359 Inc. Typically a documentarian, Stephen Kijak (Scott Walker: 30 Century Man, Cinemania) is writing and will direct the film.
While Shoplifters of the World isn’t really about The Smiths, per se, there is a true Morrissey biopic in the works. Downton Abbey actress Jessica Brown Findlay was recently cast as Linder Sterling in Steven, an upcoming film from director Mark Gill written by Gill and William Thacker. Scottish actor Jack Lowden will portray Morrissey in the tale set in the 1970s before the singer became a rock icon.