The film director Alex Ross Perry is set to make an unconventional movie about the beloved US indie band Pavement.
In November, Perry debuted a musical, Slanted! Enchanted!, about the band in New York City. In a new interview with the New Yorker, the director of films such as Listen Up Philip and Queen of Earth said that the production is part of a larger film project about the band.
Perry told the magazine that Pavement’s record label, Matador, contacted him three years ago to propose a collaboration – albeit one with a typically cryptic directive from frontman Stephen Malkmus: that he did not want to hire a documentarian; he wanted to hire a screenplay writer but did not want a screenplay.
“No one knew what that meant,” Perry said.
The unorthodox film – which Perry described as “legitimate, ridiculous, real, fake, idiotic, cliche, illogical” – will combine elements of a biopic, tour documentary and footage from the musical and its making.
Perry likened the project to the unusual films made about Bob Dylan. “You take the Todd Haynes Bob Dylan movie, the Scorsese documentary, the Pennebaker documentary, and the movie Dylan himself directed that everyone hates [Renaldo and Clara], and put them all in a blender.”
Discussing the musical, Perry likened Malkmus’s songwriting to that of Stephen Sondheim “in terms of his narrative storytelling, his sense of allusion and wordplay”.
Perry previously directed a new video for the 1999 Pavement single Harness Your Hopes, which was released earlier this year.
The New York-based film director is known for has collaborations with actor Elisabeth Moss; their latest, Her Smell, was released in 2018 and centred on a volatile musical performer inspired by Courtney Love.
Pavement are in the midst of a second reunion tour following a previous reunion in 2010. The five-piece California band initially split in 1999.