BOLOGNA, Italy -- Fresh off a shoot for a television drama, R.E.M. have
signed on to write music for a film named after one of their most successful
singles of the past decade, according to the band's manager, Bertis Downs.
"They will do the score for 'Man on the Moon,' and a new song for it as well,"
"Man on the Moon," directed by Milos Forman and starring Hole singer
Courtney Love and actor Jim Carrey, is a biopic about the controversial late
comedian Andy Kaufman, who died of cancer in 1984 at 35.
The film, which is slated for release next fall, is named after the
href="http://media.addict.com/atn-bin/get- music/R.E.M./Man_On_The_Moon.ram">R.E.M. song of the same title
music/R.E.M./Man_On_The_Moon.ram">R.E.M. song of the same title
(RealAudio excerpt) from the 1992 album Automatic for the People. The
track lyrics, which address Kaufman's penchant for riding a fine line between
reality and humor, include the lines, "Andy did you hear about this one?/ Tell
me, are you locked in the punch?/ Andy, are you goofing on Elvis?/ Hey baby,
are we losing touch?"
Before confirmation of the deal to score the film, R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe
expressed his eagerness to take on the job. "We've been talking from the very
beginning with the people who are doing 'Man on the Moon.' We're kind of
ironing out the details, but hoping a lot that we'll be able to score the film," Stipe
explained at a taping for the TV show "Party of Five" in Los Angeles two weeks
The band also is looking into scoring another film this summer, bassist Mike
Mills said recently. Because the film deal has not yet been finalized, Mills
declined to name the project, but he did say the group is looking forward to
trying its hand at creating a cinematic score.
While R.E.M. have donated songs to the soundtracks of such films as "Bachelor
Party," "Until The End of the World," "Coneheads" and "Batman and Robin," as
well as theme music to comedian Chris Elliott's former TV sitcom, "Get A Life,"
they have never before scored an entire film together.
Guitarist Peter Buck also has been doing score work with his side project,
"We're just dabbling in it right now," he explained in Los Angeles. "It's
something that eventually when we're older we'll probably want to do on a
regular basis. But right now we've got so much R.E.M. stuff it's kind of hard to
find the time."
The score is just the latest salvo in a renewed media blitz from R.E.M., who will
hit TV screens and outdoor amphitheaters through August, in an attempt to
boost the disappointing U.S. sales of their latest, Up. While the album
has sold more than 1.5 million copies in Europe, it has barely surpassed the
gold mark (500,000 copies sold) in the States.
The Athens, Ga., trio currently are in Europe supporting Up, and plan to
remain overseas through mid-March. Last Sunday, the band performed an
hour-long set for the Italian TV show "Taratata."
They're also set to launch a three-month world tour in Europe, starting in
mid-June, which will end in September in the United States.
"I've always said I stole so much from Patti Smith and nobody's ever
commented on it, but maybe when ['Man on the Moon'] comes out, people will
see that I have stolen even more from Andy Kaufman," Stipe recently told the
English music magazine NME.