The history of rock ‘n’ roll was forever changed in the ’60s by the British Invasion, and the influence of bands like The Beatles and The Stones and The Who and The Kinks and others are still felt today. And yet, in England, the government-run radio stations only allowed an hour of popular music on air a day, forcing music DJs to take their show to the sea, broadcasting rock music from boats off the coast of England 24 hours a day for anyone who wanted to listen.
That’s the musical history at the center of Pirate Radio, the new ensemble comedy from Richard Curtis that features an illustrious cast including Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Nick Frost, Rhys Darby (“Flight of the Conchords”) and Rhys Ifans and others playing DJs on just such a ship. The story is told through the eyes of a young man, played by Tom Sturridge, who’s sent to spend his summer on the boat with its motley crew in hopes it’ll be a learning experience.
Richard Curtis’ name has been associated with British comedy since the early ’80s when he wrote shows like “Blackadder” and “Spitting Image” followed by a successful run of romantic comedies he wrote in the ’90s, including Four Weddings and a Funeral and Runaway Bride. It’s somewhat surprising that Pirate Radio is only his second movie as a director following the popular ensemble rom-com Love Actually.
ComingSoon.net sat down with Curtis a few weeks back and this is what we talked about:
The phenomenon of British pirate radio stations
His own experience listening to pirate radio as a youth
Why he decided to make a movie about them
Working with such a big ensemble cast
Casting some of the modern comics like Nick Frost
Getting all of those classic rock tunes for the soundtrack
Getting all of those actors to get on a boat to make the movie and how they fared
Why Hugh Grant and Rowan Atkinson weren’t in this movie
Why it took him so long to direct a movie and how it’s been suiting him
Pirate Radio opens on Friday, November 13 nationwide.