Iron Maiden's Dickinson Pens "Chemical" Movie

A script penned by Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson will be made into a movie next year, thanks to Monty Python alumnus Terry Jones' Messiah Pictures.

The film, "The Chemical Wedding," shares its title with Dickinson's 1998 solo album, and it hosts related themes of alchemy and the occult.

The script, which was first conceived in the early 1990s by Dickinson, is a light fantasy revolving around turn-of-the-century poet and occult aficionado Alistair Crowley, who is conjured up in the story. (Dickinson's "Wedding" album featured the poetry of William Blake, which was read between tracks by '60s legend Arthur "Fire" Brown.)

Crowley was the subject of Dickinson's song "Man Of Sorrows" from his 1997 "Accident Of Birth" album, and according to Messiah partner Bill Jones, that song will likely be used in the movie. Jones (Terry's son) added that it's too early to speculate about the remainder of the soundtrack, though more Dickinson and/or Iron

Maiden material would be a logical assumption.

Jones confirmed that Dickinson will appear in a cameo role, but he discounted rumors that Who singer Roger Daltrey and actor Malcolm McDowell have been cast in the picture. Funding is still be secured for the film, Jones said, so casting has yet to take place.

Terry Jones and longtime associate Julian Doyle will direct the film, which is expected to begin shooting next year with a relatively modest budget of $5 million. The directors are hoping to repeat the success of past low-budget productions such as "Monty Python And The Holy Grail," co-directed by Jones and Terry Gilliam, which cost just over $300,000 and grossed almost $10 million in 1975.

Dickinson reunited with his Iron Maiden bandmates early in 1999 (see "Dickinson, Smith Rejoin Iron Maiden"), and they are currently winding down an 18 month touring cycle that will culminate with the giant Rock In Rio festival

in Brazil in January, which will be followed by a long break. Plans include a live DVD to be shot in South America and released for Christmas 2001.