After David Fincher’s The Social Network became such a huge hit both critically and commercially, it didn’t take long before everyone started making jokes about the copycat movies that would follow. How much money is the MySpace movie going to spend on CGI glitter? How will the Twitter movie be able to tell a satisfying story in 140 characters or less? It didn’t take a genius to figure out that anyone else trying to make a movie about an Internet startup was going to be laughed out of the box office. That’s an especially rough situation for Alex Winter, who has been trying to get a Napster movie off the ground for the last ten years.
Add the fact that the idea of a Napster movie seems very passé in a post Justin Timberlake as Shawn Parker world to the fact that whatever Winter tries to do is already going to get bombarded with jokes about how he was Bill S. Preston, Esq. in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, and finding funding for his rise of Napster script starts to look like an uphill battle not worth fighting. So, in that tough situation, really there’s only one course of action: turn your narrative film into a documentary. People can make documentaries about anything.
To that end, Winter and VH1 are teaming up to take his Napster script and flip it into a doc. Why would this worth watching? I’ll let Bill explain:
“The rise and fall of Napster and the birth of peer-to-peer file-sharing technology created by Shawn Fanning when he was a college student, changed music to movies, and made possible everything from Julian Assange, WikiLeaks to the iPod and Facebook. It became an expression of youth revolt, and contributed to a complete shift in how information, media and governments work. And it is a fascinating human story, where this 18-year-old kid invents a peer-to-peer file-sharing system, and brings it to the world six months later.”
So you see, this isn’t just a story about the founding of a web service; it’s a tale of revolution, social change, and college kids being able to store huge files of novelty songs on their hard drives without having to pay for them individually, which changed to face of frat party play lists forever. ¡Viva la Revolución!
Being a fair and balanced artist, however, Winter doesn’t plan on just having this just be youth propaganda. He plans on exploring the story from the side of Metallica as well. He goes on to say, “It’s a gray area. I can understand Fanning’s side, but I can also empathize with the horror that Metallica’s Lars Ulrich felt when a single that wasn’t even finished ended up on the radio.” I don’t know about you, but anything that gives Lars Ulrich another chance to rail against file sharing is okay by me. Watching the spittle fly off that guy’s lip is hilarious. [Deadline San Dimas]