“Bohemian Rhapsody”, the musical biopic of British rock band Queen and its front-man Freddie Mercury from 20th Century Fox, premiered this November and became the new all-time highest grossing musical film, with solid movie-going fans despite mixed reviews from professional critics. The relative success of this movie has gotten Warner Bros. Pictures’ attention, and they hope to replicate that with a biopic of another music artist. Engaging the services of filmmaker Jon M. Chu, who already has his own 2018 blockbuster with “Crazy Rich Asians”, their planned subject will be Filipino singer Arnel Pineda, current front-man of rock band Journey.
ABS-CBN News tells us that Warner Bros. is indeed tapping Jon M. Chu to direct a biopic of Arnel Pineda, chronicling his path from obscure singer in the Philippines to becoming the vocalist of American band Journey, making some of the group’s hits like “Don’t Stop Believin’” his own with his highly-praised performance. The story has already been told in the documentary “Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey”, which WB has acquired rights to with the intent of creating a dramatic story of it similar to “Bohemian Rhapsody”. In further preparation, they are also negotiating the license for Journey’s music catalog.
Chu has mentioned in Deadline that the story of Arnel Pineda has been something that has been on his mind for some time, describing his eventual success as “a true fairy tale and triumph of the human spirit”, with Pineda the unlikely hero with undeniable talent. As for the Journey front-man himself, Pineda has expressed on social media the honor he felt that a major movie studio and the director of “Crazy Rich Asians” have decided his story was worth telling. “If this article is even just half-true…I’m quite honored…and should be an exciting movie to do…but you need to reach out to me #MrJonMChu @wbpictures coz I’m right here waiting.” Pineda remarked on Instagram.
Arnel Pineda never expected that his cover of Journey songs on YouTube (as part of cover band The Zoo) would attract the attention of the band’s co-founder (and only constantly active original member) Neal Schon, who admired Pineda’s replication of original Journey vocalist Steve Perry. Despite reservations from die-hard Perry fans, Journey with Arnel Pineda experienced resurgence in popularity, leading to their songs permeating throughout media at the time like TV series such as “Glee” and “The Sopranos”. A biopic would only increase the mystique.
While significant work on the movie is still some time off, Warner Bros. has already put Kevin McCormick in charge as producer alongside Jon M. Chu’s directorial duties. No casting has been announced so far.
Image courtesy of Philippine Star