How do you prevent sibling rivalry? Do a movie together. Not a band plan at all, but when it’s something as potentially amazing as this, we hope the Fanning sisters work collaboratively more often.
Vulture reports that Elle and Dakota Fanning are coming onboard a gestating biopic of rock ‘n roll oddities The Shaggs. The story goes like this: three sisters — Dot, Betty, and Helen — formed a band in 1968, even though they had no musical talent, because their grandmother had a session with a palm reader who envisioned their future fame and fortune and told their father who put them together as a group. Naturally, they were terrible but not without a particularly sloppy charm. Regardless, they were a popular local band in Fermont, New Hampshire and they issued one album “The Philosophy Of The World” which was roundly savaged by critics (though Frank Zappa famously said they were better than The Beatles). The band broke up following the death of their father in 1975, but fast-forward a couple of decades later, a new appreciation of sorts of their work emerged with re-issues and a tribute album. It’s a totally bonkers story so no wonder a feature film has long been in the works.
Back in 2000, music video director Katherine Dieckmann (who also helmed the brutal Uma Thurman comedy “Motherhood“), got attached to the project when it was set up at the now shuttered Artisan Entertainment. Tom Cruise and Paul Wagner had also optioned a New Yorker article “Meet The Shaggs” for a possible film that never materialized.
With the Fannings coming aboard it looks like there’s new life in the project, but it seems it’s pretty early stages still. No word yet on when it will shoot but pitching a movie about a band with terrible music is a hard one, though, with the Fannings involved, it should open some new doors to get it running. We hope it does get moving because it’s a truly weird piece of music history and we’re glad to see the Fannings teaming up for interesting material. Check out The Shaggs below and judge their talent for yourself.
The Shaggs “It’s Halloween”
The Shaggs “Philosophy Of The World”
The Shaggs “You’re Something Special To Me”