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Green Day’s ‘American Idiot’ Headed To The Screen With Dustin Lance Black Scripting

Written by on April 12, 2011 

The big success of Broadway’s American Idiot – based off the Green Day album of the same name – has led to the inevitable: a film adaptation. We had heard in March of last year that Tom Hanks‘ Playtone Productions (who made nearly $610 million from a movie version of Mamma Mia!) was interested in making the story of the album and play into a movie, which at the time seemed like a good plan, if for no other reason than there being a lot of money in doing so. Now that the play has become a big hit and is getting ready to leave Broadway for a tour this fall, there’s no doubt that this story has an audience, and one that’s willing to pay.

Deadline is now reporting that Playtone and Universal are close to bringing the tale from stage to screen, and they’ve already lined up creative forces to help shape the picture. Dustin Lance Black, the Oscar-winning scribe of Milk and the upcoming J. Edgar, is in talks to write the screenplay, while directing duties are said to be in the hands of Michael Mayer. He’s someone who could be considered qualified, as he directed the play during its stage run. When it comes to the lead, they’re going for the band’s frontman, Billie Joe Armstrong. On occasion, he played the show’s lead of drug dealer St. Jimmy, and when he did the grosses for the play are said to have gone up a large amount. Obviously, there’s the hope that his presence in the film would replicate this success.

The story is described as “the coming of age story of three small-town guys. One joins the armed forces, another moves to the city and gets mired in a drug habit, the third stays home and gets his girlfriend pregnant,” with there being “little dialogue beyond the Green Day tunes.” Having not listened to the album or seen the play (they’re not really my sound), my experience with the whole thing is fairly minimal. I’m occasionally a rock opera fan, if sometimes only for a certain kitsch factor. While I love something like Pink Floyd The Wall, that comes from a love of the music, which isn’t exactly present here. Even then, it doesn’t matter if I’m not interested in this project; there are more than enough people who will pay to see this, and this is almost guaranteed to be a success.

Would you want to see a movie version of American Idiot? Are you a fan of the album?

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