The Christmas murder mystery film we all need in our lives
Bob Geldof solves a murder in the midst of Band Aid in James Ward Byrkit’s proposed film
‘Mr Geldof, Mr Geldof: Was it Mr Bono, in the recording booth with the mic stand?’ Photograph: Cyril Byrne
In the days after Michelle Smith (without the aid of any performance-enhancing drugs, m’lud) won every gold medal awarded at the Atlanta Olympics, stories really did emerge suggesting that Kidman would play her in a “Hollywood movie”. There seemed to be no sounder basis for the rumour than – and this will tell you how long ago it wa – the heart-faced, ringlet-haired Kidman looked a bit like the heart-faced, ringlet-haired swimmer (who didn’t take any drugs). I would smugly blame the tabloids, but a quick search confirms that even The Irish Times argued that “Australian actress Nicole Kidman had been approached to star in a ‘biopic’ about the Atlanta triple gold medallist’s rise to sporting glory”.
Of course this was never going to happen. Our story did quote a French agency saying that Smith had turned down a “multi-million pound Hollywood movie contract”. But it seems enormously unlikely that Fox or Warners or Disney would really throw money at the story of an Irish woman who (without the aid of performance-enhancing drugs) turned out to be a very fast swimmer. Heck, they didn’t even make a theatrical feature about Mark Spitz. And he swam much quicker. It’s an easy non-news story. Nobody is libelled. Nobody is inconvenienced. It’s the softer end of what we now call fake news.
All of which is precursor to my pathetic demand that a current, rumoured film – probably no more than gossipy vapour – absolutely must make it on to screen. It has to happen. We must all organise our own crowd-funding campaigns if it fails to reach pre-production.
James Ward Byrkit, director of the excellent low-budget flick Coherence, has announced that his next project will be a thriller titled Do They Know It’s Murder? Some producers have been named and at least one website claims vaguely that it’s “gain[ing] traction with indie film financiers”.
The news is better than you’d hoped. Set during the recording of Do They Know It’s Christmas?, the film has Bob Geldof finding a dead body and attempting to solve the crime without disrupting the session. No human has had an idea this good since someone realised that causing grain to go off gives you something he or she chose to call beer.
It doesn’t matter if the picture works on its own terms or not. If Byrki (unlikely, I suspect) is intending to make a sombre 1980s noir then, should he manage that feat, Do They Know It’s Murder? will become one of the most tonally original films in the medium’s history. Should such a production fail then it can only become a camp classic. It seems more likely that the director is consciously leaning towards kitsch.
None of these options is anything less than delicious. Pay attention. Somebody will have to play Bono. Somebody else will need to play Sting out of The Police. Some lucky bastard will actually get to be the irreplaceable, sadly underrated Marilyn. All such whodunits require the detective to have a sidekick off whom ideas can be bounced. The obvious selection would be a fellow Boomtown Rat like Pete Briquette, but I like the idea of Keren Woodward from Bananarama. “Look here, Bob,” Woodward might remark. “How could the poison have been in the Marmite jar if Rick Parfitt had already smeared some on his toast? You’re talking balderdash.”
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead did clever things with events surrounding the main action of Hamlet, but Tom Stoppard conspicuously failed to slot Chris Cross out of Ultravox into the action. No such problems for Do They Know it’s Murder?
There are more reasons to celebrate. The film will count as a Christmas entertainment and, thus, can become a ritual to compare with the yearly screening of The Muppet Christmas Carol or the equally yearly yuletide quarrel with deaf Auntie Maureen. And get this. If Do They Know it’s Murder? does turn out to be a smash (which it obviously will, because even if it’s awful it will be brilliant) then Geldof can return thrice more for mysteries set during recording of the subsequent versions.
Don’t wrack your brains. I’ll help you out here. Do They Know It’s Murder? II will have Kylie Minogue and Lisa Stansfield as suspects. The third episode will hang out with Thom Yorke (no, really), Justin Hawkins and Shaznay Lewis out of All Saints. The fourth outing features roles for Seal, Rita Ora and One Direction. This is the film that keeps on giving forever and ever.
But it probably won’t happen. Right? Oh, don’t be so miserable, Mr Scrooge. It’s Christmas time. There’s no need to be afraid.