RUSH: THE MOVIE
Fresh from their success with Iron Maiden's Flight 666, filmmakers Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen turn their attention to Rush. Jerry Ewing gets the lowdown.
It seems fitting that the two men who have managed to present rock music in a well-structured and thought-out light cinematically in recent years should turn their attention to Rush. That's exactly what fellow Canadians Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen are now doing, with the first ever feature film documentary on Geddy, Alex and Neil.
"Geddy had been in Metal: A Headbanger's Journey and we were thinking about other bands we could work with," explains McFadyen. "We felt that Rush had always been overlooked by the critics so we met them on tour and they liked what we said. We started working on it, then Iron Maiden came about so we took a break to do that and raised the financing for the Rush film. We've started on it now and done a load of interviews so now we're editing with a load of archival footage.
We've been lucky, not only have we had access to [Rush management] SRO's archives but also Geddy, Alex and Neil's own personal archives," enthuses director Dunn. "I was just at Geddy's house this week. Going through his personal collection of memorabilia. I dug up some gems I don't think Rush fans have ever seen so we're hoping to offer something new."
As Rush fans themselves, Dunn admits this is making him feel like a kid let loose in a candy store.
"Well, Geddy's definitely the premier band archivist. He has a massive collection of photographs and clippings. We even got our hands on Neil's handwritten lyric sheets from back when they were making Fly By Night, 2112 and A Farewell To Kings, and I don't think they've ever been seen before."
Given the private nature of the band, particularly drummer Neil Peart, the fact that the band are fully co-operating with the filmmakers makes the prospect of the finished cut even more mouth-watering.
"Well they're not quite at the end of their career - they have a few albums left in them," states McFadyen. "They're going to start recording their next album soon and we're hoping to be able to show that in the film. They seem to like the scope of what we were doing. We were going to take the time and energy and talk to hundreds of people. We were hoping for the ending to have them to be inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall Of Fame. So we're kind of holding off to see if that might happen, because if any band deserves it it's them.
And as for the reclusive Peart?
"Neil's very private but that's understandable given everything that he's gone through," muses Dunn. "But what we found was that when you get Neil on a motorbike in a remote area, the kid comes out in him. So we have filmed Neil riding through Quebec, parts of Europe and California and we've found that when you sit down with Neil, one on one, he loves to talk. And Rush fans know that he's smart and articulate and always has something interesting to say."
The as-yet untitled film will also feature contributions from a host of musicians who have toured with or been inspired by Rush, including Billy Corgan, Trent Reznor, Tool, Foo Fighters, Kiss, Uriah Heep and Primus. Dunn and McMadyen look to complete filming at the end of this year, so a theatrical release is slated for early next summer.
Watch out for exclusive footage of the three members interacting with each other in the band's unique way.
"We got some rare backstage footage in Europe," Says Dunn. "And the camaraderie between the three really comes across. They're almost telepathic and I think that's what's been behind their great success. They have such a deep understanding of each other's personalities and of each other's strengths. That's something that's pretty amazing to see and what we want to convey in the film."
The handwritten lyric sheets that Dunn refers to were actually made available in the tour books The Words and Pictures Volume 1 and Volume 2. However those are just copies and Sam may be planning on using video/photographs of the originals in the film. It sounds like part of the explanation for the delay of the release is to include footage of the band in the studio for their next album, which Alex has stated will tentatively happen this Fall. It's interesting that they are also hoping that Rush actually gets into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next year, in order to include that in the documentary as well. I somehow doubt that will occur, but stranger things have happened. If that doesn't materialize I suppose they could at least include Rush's Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony assuming that happens by next summer. Many thanks to Chris W for providing the scan of this article so I could transcribe it. You can purchase the magazine online via this link.