Ali Campbell has revealed he’s teaming up with ‘Quadrophenia’ producer Bill Curbishley on a UB40 biopic.
The 61-year-old lead singer of the Birmingham reggae group and his manager – who also managed The Who and worked on their iconic musical movies – are set to leave no stone unturned in the the film, which will see Ali share his side of the story.
There has long been two versions of the band, with warring siblings Ali, Duncan, the group’s current frontman, and Robin Campbell, fighting of the right to use the band’s name when they tour.
Ali left the band in 2008, due to a dispute with management, and he’s been doing solo tours.
In 2014, he started performing as UB40 featuring Ali, Astro and Mickey, as he reunited with his bandmates, but they weren’t allowed to simply call themselves UB40 after facing legal action.
Ali, Astro and Mickey Virtue have had their own success, with their most recent album, 2018’s ‘A Real Labor of Love’, reaching number two in the UK Albums Chart , whilst it topped the US Billboard Reggae Albums Chart.
UB40 formed in Birmingham in 1978 and the members went from being unemployed to selling 70 million records.
However, it has not all been plain-sailing, with the continued rivalry between the family members, bankruptcy and legal hassles along the way.
On the plans for the movie, Ali told the Daily Star newspaper’s Wired column: “I’m talking to Bill Curbishley, who manages us. He made ‘Tommy’ and ‘Quadrophenia’ (with The Who), so I’m always badgering him to be involved in getting a script done.
“Everyone says, ‘You have to make a movie because a lot of what has happened, you couldn’t make it up – it beggars belief. So once somebody gets their teeth into the project, it will happen and it would be good.”
The ‘Red Red Wine’ hitmaker insisted he won’t be asking his siblings for permission for the biopic.
He said: “I wouldn’t bother trying to get rights. I would tell it how it was instead of all the crap written from their side. It would be great.”
It wouldn’t be the first the group’s fascinating story has been told on screen, as ‘Promises & Lies: The Story Of UB40’ aired on TV in 2016, and featured interviews with band members Ali, Robin, Astro, Mickey, Brian Travers and Jimmy Brown.
Meanwhile, fans can expect a new record from UB40 featuring Ali, Astro and Mickey soon.
He teased: “Astro and I have been writing, so it will be reggae, of course.The stuff we put down already sounds fresh and different.It will be both covers and originals.”
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