Our pals at Frozen Pictures aren't letting any grass grow under their feet. Days after the world premiere of their acclaimed Neil Innes biopic, The Seventh Python, they've announced that theyre about to begin production on their next nonfiction, musical feature film: the story of Sixties rocker Chris Montez.
Montez, a Mexican American who grew up in Hawthorne, California, went to school with the Beach Boys, met his hero Ritchie Valens as a teen, carried on as his successor, toured England with the Beatles as his opening act, and pioneered the lounge movement with hits like Call Me and The More I See You. Of course, you know his hit, Let's Dance. It played during the food fight scene in Animal House, and the Ramones covered it on their first album.
Neil Innes? Chris Montez? These guys have a knack for finding hidden gems in rock 'n' roll's history. How do these guys do it? Allen Sherman, your biopic awaits! Here's the press release:
FROZEN PICTURES TO FOLLOW
ACCLAIMED NEIL INNES BIOPIC
WITH NONFICTION FILM
ON THE LIFE AND MUSIC
OF CHRIS MONTEZ
HOLLYWOOD, July 2 (JONAS PR) - Hot on the heels of the world premiere of its Neil Innes biopic, The Seventh Python, Frozen Pictures announced today that its next nonfiction musical feature film will focus on the life and career of rock and pop star Chris Montez.
Montez, best known for 1962 rocker, Let's Dance and Swingin' Sixties hits like Call Me and The More I See You, has seen international success whose versatility has moved him beyond the Oldies circuit.
“Chris Montez is an incredibly influential musician whose life and music have touched on every major thread in rock ‘n' roll, from Latino rock to R&B, Sixties pop to lounge, surf to punk,” says Burt Kearns, who writes, produces or directs all of Frozen's projects with Brett Hudson.
"His story is epic. He grew up in Hawthorne, California and went to school and jammed with Brian Wilson and his brothers. He met his hero Ritchie Valens, months before his death. He toured the Deep South at with Sam Cooke and Smokey Robinson. The Beatles were his opening act on their breakthrough British tour. He was washed up at 19. And then he met Herb Alpert and began a very unlikely second act.”
“This film will rewrite rock ‘n' roll history,” adds Hudson, who wrote part of that history with The Hudson Brothers in the Sixties and Seventies. “There's a legendary story about Chris getting into a barroom brawl with John Lennon. There are questions about where those Beatle suits came from. And there's lots more."
Plans call for filming in Los Angeles, Branson, Europe and Mexico, including an all-star jam session that will feature Montez' greatest hits in a casual setting. “What Bono did for Roy Orbison, what Rick Rubin did for Johnny Cash and Neil Diamond, we'll do for Chris Montez,” says Hudson. “He's a very special talent who really communicates with his music."
The greenlighting of the Montez project comes less than a week after Frozen Pictures' latest film, The Seventh Python, had its world premiere at the American Cinematheque's Mods & Rockers Film Festival in Hollywood.
Reviews have been uniformly impressive, with The Los Angeles Times calling the film “charming and illuminating,” and LAist praising it as “inspired and hilarious.'”
Hudson says the Montez story, besides "reflecting the journey and assimilation of the Mexican American from the 1950s to the first years of the 21st Century," fits in well with the Frozen Pictures' other entertaining, innovative and surprising nonfiction projects that that include the Bravo miniseries, All The Presidents' Movies with Martin Sheen and the television special, The Secret History of Rock ‘n' Roll with Gene Simmons.
“I want to be an example”
Montez, who recently starred at the Dick Clark ‘s American Bandstand Theatre in Branson, Missouri, is eager to bring his story to a new generation “and influence as many people as I can.
"For me, it's always been about overcoming obstacles,” he says. “I'd like to say I grew up in a bilingual home, but my parents never spoke English. I grew up with four brothers and four sisters, and none of them finished school. I've seen discrimination against them and I've experienced it myself. But though I know the struggles of being a Mexican American, I also had tremendous opportunities. I ended up working with the Beatles-- and having the Beatles open for me!
"A lot of Mexican Americans know about me, and I have a lot of older fans, but I want to be an example to young people. An example that everything's possible. I've had lot of Mexican people say to me, 'You're a legend'-- I don't know what that means. I've always been an underdog. And whether you're worth ten million dollars or ten bucks, you're the same person as long as you keep that focus.”
Lensing is set for late summer.