Entertainment & Arts

Frank Sidebottom inspires Michael Fassbender film

Michael Fassbender and Frank Sidebottom
Image caption Fassbender (l) will wear a false head in the film similar to that worn by Frank Sidebottom (r)

Michael Fassbender is to star in a film partially inspired by Frank Sidebottom, the eccentric comedy character renowned for his over-sized, papier-mache head.

Frank, a Film4 collaboration with the Irish Film Board, tells of a musician who joins a band led by Fassbender's mysterious title character.

The film is written by journalist and author Jon Ronson with Peter Straughan.

Sidebottom, the creation of the late Chris Sievey, was an aspiring singer-songwriter from Greater Manchester.

The character - often accompanied by his puppet sidekick, Little Frank - became a regular presence on TV in the 1980s and '90s.

Ronson, who performed with Sievey as part of the Frank Sidebottom Oh Blimey Big Band, said on Twitter he was "thrilled" the film was being made by "amazing people".

He described Frank as "a fictional story inspired by great outsider musicians like Frank Sidebottom, [US musician] Daniel Johnston and Captain Beefheart" - the stage name used by American performer Don Van Vliet.

Domhnall Gleeson, son of Irish actor Brendan, will co-star with Fassbender in Lenny Abrahamson's film, to begin shooting later this year.

Chris Sievey died in June 2010 at the age of 54, having recently been diagnosed with cancer.

Fassbender, seen in such films as Hunger and Inglourious Basterds, drew widespread acclaim earlier this year for his role as a sex addict in Steve McQueen film Shame.

Peter Straughan won a Bafta for his screenplay to 2011's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy film, co-written with his late wife Bridget O'Connor.

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