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INXS' Hutchence due for film treatment

A biopic of the Australian band's dead lead singer moves forward after the popularity of the show ‘Rock Star.’
/ Source: Hollywood Reporter

Two filmmakers are so worried about the handling of late INXS singer Michael Hutchence’s legacy that they are making a movie about the Australian rocker before it gets tarnished any further.

The project, “Slide Away,” has been in development for some time, but gained momentum following last year’s reality TV show “Rock Star: INXS,” where unknown singers vied to fill Hutchence’s shoes, according to producer Clark Westerman.

Unimpressed with the low-rated series, Westerman persuaded an initially reluctant Nick Egan, a British music video director and Hutchence pal who shot many of the band’s clips, to take the helm of the project.

“I said, ’Somebody else is going to do it, and they are not going to do it as well as you would because you knew him so well,”’ Westerman recalled.

Hutchence’s death in November 1997 made international headlines and stunned fans. He was found in a Sydney hotel room, the apparent victim either of suicide or accidental death via autoerotic asphyxiation. He was 37.

Westerman said: “That is not the memory of what we are after, and that’s not the story of who the man is. What we are aiming for is the journey through a person’s life via their head.”

The deal was a complicated yearlong affair, with the filmmakers acquiring the cooperation and participation of Hutchence’s trust and the cooperation of his brother, Rhett. But it reportedly raised the ire of their father, Kel. The filmmakers are now sifting through Hutchence’s catalog.

The project’s name comes from a posthumous duet that paired Hutchence with U2’s Bono.

Egan directed many of the videos from INXS’ late-’80s/early ’90s heyday when it ruled the charts with tracks from its ”Kick” and “X” albums. He also worked with the likes of Motley Crue, Oasis, Alanis Morissette, Mick Jagger, Duran Duran and one-time Hutchence paramour Kylie Minogue.