Frankie Goes To Hollywood Biopic ‘Relax’ In The Works

The film is set to be directed by Bernard Rose, who famously shot the band’s controversial ‘Relax’ promo video.

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Frankie Goes To Hollywood - Photo: Arnaud Borrel/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Relax, a new biopic about the rise to fame of the 80s Scouse pop sensations Frankie Goes to Hollywood, is currently the works. The film will be directed by Bernard Rose, who previously directed the band’s notorious “Relax” music video, as well as films including Candyman and Ivans xtc.

Callum Scott Howells, who rose to fame on It’s a Sin, Russell T Davies’s drama set during the AIDS epidemic in the 80s and 90s, will play the band’s lead singer, Holly Johnson. The singer’s memoir, A Bone in My Flute, forms the basis for the film’s script. Alongside Howells, the producers will also look to cast fellow Frankie members Paul Rutherford, Mark O’Toole, Brian Nash and Peter Gill.

Frankie Goes to Hollywood formed in 1980. Their first three singles, “Relax,” “Two Tribes” and “The Power of Love” each topped the charts in 1984, and the first was briefly banned by the BBC because of the sexual provocation in its lyric. Despite this “Relax” went on to become the sixth best-selling UK single of all time.

Frankie’s first album Welcome To The Pleasuredome, achieved advanced sale of more than a million, but their 1986 followup Liverpool was less successful and, the next year, Johnson sued their record label, ZTT, and embarked on a solo career.

Last Saturday, the band reunited for the first time in 36 years in their hometown of Liverpool to play one song, “Welcome to the Pleasuredome” as part of a pre-Eurovision concert.

“Working Title is always looking to champion British stories and so the opportunity to shine a light on Frankie Goes To Hollywood, a British band who truly revolutionized the UK music industry, was a natural fit for us,” Working Title’s Tim Bevan said in a statement. “Working under the direction of Bernard Rose, the project will star exciting young talent, Callum Scott Howells in the lead, and Independent Entertainment as partner. We can’t wait to get started.”

“Combining the wit of The Beatles, the power of The Rolling Stones and the outrage of The Sex Pistols, Frankie Goes To Hollywood went from unemployed Liverpudlians to Kings of pop on the back of their epic banned record ‘Relax,'” Bernard Rose adds.

“In 1984 they outsold Prince, Madonna, Michael Jackson and Duran Duran,” he furthered. “Their epic rise, bringing the then deeply underground S+M and LGBTQ club scene screaming into the limelight, is the energetic and moving story of underdogs that win one for the ages. I was very much a part of the hoopla, having directed the original ‘banned’ “Relax” video and I want to bring that innocent and daring world of 1984 back to life for a new audience today.

Listen to the best of Frankie Goes To Hollywood on Apple Music and Spotify.

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