'Sex'-y love story of Berlin’s Terri Nunn and radio DJ Richard Blade to be made into biopic

Nunn just revealed that filmmakers are interested in having Florence Pugh or Julia Garner portray her onscreen.

KROQ DJ Richard Blade, Berlin frontwoman Terri Nunn (Photos: Getty Images)
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Richard Blade, an on-air personality at Los Angeles tastemaker station KROQ who was among the first U.S. radio DJs to spin artists like Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, and Berlin in the 1980s, chronicled those new wave adventures in his 2017 autobiography, World in My Eyes. But as Berlin frontwoman Terri Nunn just revealed to Yahoo Entertainment music editor Lyndsey Parker on a “Rock Goddesses” episode of the podcast Totally ‘80s, it is just one chapter of that book, “No More Words,” that will become the main focus of an upcoming Blade biopic.

The subject of music films came up when the podcast’s other rock-goddess guest, Ann Wilson, offered an update on Heart’s Carrie Brownstein-penned biopic, about which Wilson first spilled the beans to Parker in November 2020. “[Something] which is kind of interesting is, like Ann's movie, Richard Blade's book has been optioned by a producer and writer, and they've decided that they want the story to be about our love affair,” Nunn divulged. “And they're calling it No More Words.”

Nunn also revealed that the filmmakers “are interested in Florence Pugh” to play Nunn, or possibly “Julia Garner, who was not available because she was gonna play Madonna [in Madonna’s aborted biopic]. But now that that's over, they're interested in her too.”

The film will chronicle Blade and Nunn’s passionate and forbidden love affair, which began in 1982 when an amused Nunn called the KROQ switchboard after hearing Blade gush on the air about how the “model” (actually Nunn herself) on the cover of Berlin’s single “The Metro” was “one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen.” Blade then boldly invited Nunn to his upcoming DJ night at Santa Monica’s 321 dance club, and after that meeting, the two were — as Blade wrote in World in My Eyes — “inseparable.” Blade even spontaneously proposed marriage during a Christmas vacation in Hawaii, and while Nunn wasn’t ready to take that leap, she promised him she would be one day.

The new wave power couple continued to date as Nunn’s star, with both KROQ and MTV’s help, continued to rise. They kept their relationship secret at first, but once they were spotted looking quite chummy by multiple journalists backstage at the Us Festival in May 1983, gossip circulated. That was when the head of Berlin’s label at the time, Geffen Records, attempted to put the kibosh on their romance.

“It made sense, because our music was so weird that [KROQ] was one of the only stations playing us — so, it probably scared Geffen, thinking now we're going lose radio play [if Richard and I broke up],” Nunn told Yahoo Entertainment/Totally ‘80s. “The head of the label, David Geffen, once said to me, ‘You cannot date this particular man. … It was Richard Blade. I was dating him, and Geffen wasn't happy about it. And it's the only time that I ever [sassed back] to Geffen. Because he scared me, and I was so excited to have a job and be on his label. But at that meeting I said, ‘You will not tell me who I date. This is a business, and we're going talk business stuff. But my personal life is off the table.”

As it turned out, Blade and Nunn’s relationship was over by the end of ’83, when — spoiler alert! — they broke up in a dramatic, extremely cinematic manner after Nunn learned of Blade's infidelity, just when she was finally about to take the leap and marry him. (“I will never forgive myself for how it ended,” Blade confessed in a Nunn-dedicated paragraph of his autobiography’s Acknowledgments section.) But before the two went their separate ways, their torrid affair inspired one of Berlin’s most iconic tracks, and one of the decade’s sexiest singles: “Sex (I’m A…)” off the band’s debut album, Pleasure Victim.

“It was just about a time where Richard and I weren't really… I mean, it was just getting kind of dull in bed. So, I asked him if he would try some role-playing; maybe we could have some fun,” Nunn explained. “And he said to me, ‘Terri, I'm not a pirate! I'm not a burglar! I'm just a guy. I like guy stuff.’ And so the chorus I made it where [the male protagonist’ is just like, ‘I'm a man, I'm a man, I'm a man, I'm a man,’ and I'm all these other things. I'm a ‘geisha’ and I'm a ‘blue movie’ and I'm a pirate. I just had fun with it, because a lot of my girlfriends were getting into that stuff. We were 20, and that's what we talked about. Like, ‘Well, what are you doing? What's he doing to you? What are you doing to him?’ I put it in a song. And that hadn't been done yet. … At the time, women hadn't talked about what we did in bed with guys.”

“I had no idea that our conversation would be set to music and turned into one of the hottest dance songs of the early ‘80s,” Blake would write decades later in World in My Eyes.

The soft-porn-ish “Sex (I’m A…)” music video only received limited play on MTV. “They just made us edit it and edit it,” said Nunn, revealing that — surprisingly — it was a “food scene,” shot almost four years before 9 1/2 Weeks, that rankled the network’s censors the most. (“They didn't like watching people swallowing oysters,” Nunn shrugged.) And while KROQ did play “Sex(I’m A…),” the song “got banned in the South pretty much across the board.” Nunn even recalled a time when “this priest went on TV — he [booked] a commercial — and said, ‘These are the devil's children! They are out to get your children! Do not go to this concert!’” (Of course, she noted that the concert “sold out in like an hour” as a result.)

Blade and Nunn didn’t speak for seven years after their sudden split, but they’re on great terms now. Not only did Blade enlist Terri to appear on the “No More Words” chapter of his World in My Eyes audiobook, but Nunn even hired Blade to recite a series of nasty one-liners spoofing beauty-industry infomercials for Berlin’s 2019 reunion single, “Show Me Tonight.” Nunn chucklingly explained to Yahoo Entertainment: “I needed an announcer, someone who could be that asshole that you hear on the radio saying, ‘You suck, and that's why the guy isn't calling you back, because you're old and you're fat and you're stupid.’ So, he's the announcer in the song. … He committed to it. He sounds really vicious, doesn't he? He starts out really nice at the beginning of the song, and then it just gets meaner and meaner and meaner. We literally just let the [recorder] go, and he did it in five minutes. He's a professional.”

While “No More Words” was just one chapter among the more than 500 pages of World in My Eyes, that one section alone clearly gives filmmakers plenty to work with.

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