If you had to distill the 1960s British Invasion to its key and core seminal rock and roll bands—the ones that really lasted, the ones that endured and joined the all-time-great pantheon—you pretty much land on The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Who (there’s lots of sub-bands that get footnote mentions like The Animals, Herman’s Hermits and The Zombies the latter of which are super excellent, but that’s another story). But one rock band left outside that triumvirate who are arguably just as good, and perhaps even have a more consistent body of work for their formative years is The Kinks. Formed by brothers Ray and Dave Davies, brilliant pop song writers notorious for their acrimonious relationship while rhythm section Mick Avory and Pete Quaife looked on in dismay, The Kinks have several seminal pop records to their name, The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society perhaps being their Pet Sounds or Sgt. Peppers equivalent.
And sure they’ve received a kind of hipster renaissance thanks to Wes Anderson soundtracking them into almost all of his movies, but to your average classic rock radio station or DJ, they’re still far off in another small corner. This could change ever so slightly as director Julien Temple (“The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle,” “Absolute Beginners“), a filmmaker who has been trying to make some kind of Kinks film for almost ten years now, is finally moving ahead with one. Known almost exclusively for his intersection of rock music and film—”The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle,” and “The Filth And The Fury” are docs about the Sex Pistols, “Absolute Beginners” features a very early David Bowie starring performance, “Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten” is a portrait doc about The Clash frontrunner—Temple is finally making his narrative Kinks biopic “You Really Got Me” (named after one of the band’s most famous songs). And he’s got a cast too. Musician/actor Johnny Flynn (who co-starred alongside Anne Hathaway in “Song One” and appeared in “Clouds of Sils Maria”) and George Mackay (“Pride”) will star as Ray and Dave Davies respectively in Temple’s film about the “Cain and Abel of rock n’ roll.”
The movie will shoot later this year and Juno Temple, the director’s daughter, will star as Ray’s wife Raza who also did backing vocals on a few Kinks tracks. According to Screen Daily, the movie will focus on “the often turbulent relationship between the brothers who fronted the iconic 1960’s band, famous for hits ‘You Really Got Me’ and ‘Waterloo Sunset.’”
Flynn is known for his indie folk career first and foremost so we know he has the chops to pull it off the musical stuff, and even Mackay is playing the lead role in The Proclaimers musical “Sunshine on Leith.” For several years, Temple was hard at work on a definitive Kinks documentary and instead he ended up making two docs on the two brothers. “Ray Davies – Imaginary Man” arrived in 2010 and “Dave Davies – Kinkdom Come” landed in 2011, but unfortunately for audiences outside the U.K., the docs never traveled much farther outside the BBC (though you can watch one full doc below and elements of another).
The key element of music is already in place for “You Really Got Me.” Not only does the film have the rights to Kinks songs, and Ray and Dave will work on the soundtrack. “This is an exciting chance to tell The Kinks story in a visceral and real way,” Temple told the trade. “The lyrics of The Kinks have always been fascinating to me and there is an amazing human story here as well which has yet to be captured on film.” We’re sold.