Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on Feb 20th 2010 9:30AM by Stuart Berman
His may not be as familiar a name, but Knopper's 2009 book -- 'Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age' -- will tell attendees much more that they need to know about the music business than yet another panel discussion about blogs and new business models.
Charting the music industry's (mis)fortunes from the disco-era through the MTV-led '80s goldrush and the boy-band bubble of the late-'90s to the post-Napster crash and burn, 'Appetite for Self-Destruction' boasts a cheeky, character-driven narrative that makes it natural fodder for a film adaptation.
As reported last November, the book was optioned by HBO via veteran, Canadian-born producer Bob Cooper (best known for bringing Sam Mendes' 'American Beauty' to the screen). According to Knopper, a first draft of the script -- penned by award-winning playwright Victoria Stewart -- is currently in the works, though how a book that spans 30 years and includes over 200 interview sources will be condensed into a two-hour telefilm is a mystery to the author.
"When I was talking to some scriptwriters early on, they were asking me, 'What movie could you compare this to,' and my first instinct was 'Boogie Nights,' where you had the early porn industry all the way up to the current-day porn industry," Knopper says. "But the key difference there is you had a couple of vivid characters who drove the whole movie, whereas in mine, the characters change.
"The people who were in the industry in 1979 don't exist today, unless you count [Universal Music Group CEO] Doug Morris. But the story doesn't work if you see it through his eyes. My understanding is that they may focus on [former Sony Music boss] Tommy Mottola, in part because he's such a character, and in part because he hasn't written his own book yet, so he can't spin the whole story his way.
"I've talked to Victoria and she's really awesome and she lives in Minneapolis, which strikes me as a plus -- she's not right in L.A., so she's not cynical or jaded. She's smart and won a bunch of awards, so I'm just hitching my wagon to her."
Once the first draft lands, Knopper will have to curb his enthusiasm as he endures the usual hurry-up-and-wait process of revisions, casting and, finally, production. When the film finally surfaces, it won't be a moment too soon.
"Let's just say it'll be a nice payday -- more so than the freelance journalism world that I'm in. I won't have to go to some blog and convince them to pay me seven cents a word."