An unlikely batch of rockers has joined forces to perform in an upcoming rock movie called The Bridge. If producers are able to secure enough funding to begin shooting, the movie should be gripping and authentic, says Def Leppard vocalist Joe Elliott, who was one of the first musicians cast for the project.
"I’m playing a guy called Ziggy, which is nice because I think Bobby Field, who wrote the movie, knew I was a big Bowie fan,” Elliott tells Yahoo Music. “I’m a very successful music producer from the ’60s and ‘70s. They’re going to have to use some serious make-up to make me look that old — I was only nine in 1969,” he quips. “But anyway, I’ve got to entice the musical talent out of [a] troubled musician and help get the guy back on track and give him a will to live.”
Writer Field, whose resume includes Guy in Row Five, 15 Minutes, and Godmoney, will play the young aspiring rock star, Luke Weaver. If he needs help throwing a convincing rock-star tantrum, all he has to do is turn to his supporting cast, which includes Pixies guitarist Joey Santiago, Ministry frontman Al Jourgensen, Ministry guitarist Sin Quirin, Twisted Sister guitarist Eddie Ojeda, ex-Misfits member Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein, and Ricky Warwick, singer of the Thin Lizzy spin-off band Black Star Riders, and former frontman for the Almighty.
“Ricky was actually the one who got me involved in The Bridge. I’ve known him forever,” Elliott says. “He called me up and asked me, ‘Do you want to be in a film?’ I was like, ‘Sure, why not?’ It’s not like I’m going to be chained to a makeup room for 12 hours a day in the middle of nowhere like they are in Star Wars.
"It’s a music film. It kind of makes sense. I’m not trying to pretend to be an astronaut or a race car driver where I’d have to really get to grips with the part. I’ve been doing this for the best part of 37 years so I kind of know how people react in studio situations, and those tense environments within four walls. It’s really just a case of role playing.”
The Bridge is working with Indiegogo to secure funding, and has raised almost $70,000 of its $300,000 target goal. The campaign began November 16 and is scheduled to run through January 1. Those who pledge a minimum of five dollars will receive a weekly video update from the producers. The incentives increase exponentially from there. Fifty dollars will earn donors a copy of the DVD when the film is completed, while $750 will earn a fan two VIP passes to a Ministry concert in 2015. For $1,500 you can go out for a night of drinking with Warwick, and $2,000 will earn you a seat inside the Ministry studio in January as they practice for their 2015 tour. The top prize is a batch of martinis and a pasta dinner for six cooked by Santiago at your own home. The guitarist will travel anywhere in the U.S., but the package will cost the winner $20,000.
If producers don’t raise their financial goal they will look for other ways to fund the film. “If enough people do get involved there will be enough money to make a pretty decent movie,” Elliott says. “So far we’ve provided all these incentives to investors, and there will be additional ones as we go along. The most important thing is we’re all signed up to do this film and it really is going to happen if the funding comes together.”
The Bridge will be Elliott’s first acting appearance since 2001, when he played the ghost of a dead rock star named Leon in the sci-fi series Dark Realm. The episode was “Johnny’s Guitar,” and Elliott acted alongside Corey Feldman. “I was only in it for 10 minutes,” says Elliott. “The thing I remember the most is we shot it in the Isle of Man and I had to fly in from California. As I landed in London I got a phone call from them saying they’d changed the script. I had just read it all for 12 hours and learned it by heart. They threw me on set literally within about a half hour of getting to the place with this whole new script. It was not my field of expertise in the first place, so to throw me in the deep end like that was not so cool, but I just had to get on with it. In the end, I was so jetlagged I didn’t really remember doing it.”
In addition to trying to rally support for The Bridge, Elliot has been working with Def Leppard on the band’s 10th album of original studio material. While the band has a reputation for working slowly and methodically, this time they hope to have the yet-untitled album ready for release by late spring or early summer.
“We’ve got 15 songs cooking right now,” Elliot says. “We’ve had a lot of fun with them because it hasn’t taken long at all. We’ve had a six- or seven-week heavy session getting the backing tracks down, and now it’s me going in and doing the vocals.”
As opposed to past albums, which involved lengthy stays at hotels in various cities, the members of Def Leppard are recording their new album right in the comfort of their own homes. “I’ve got my own studio so it’s a case of just wandering downstairs, going into the studio, coming up for dinner and then going back down again,” Elliot says “It’s not like I’ve got to get into an airplane and fly off to Electric Ladyland. I’ve got my own Electric Ladyland right here and that makes it much more enjoyable to do.”