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BAZ BAMIGBOYE: Take That are to relight their fire… with big screen version of their stage musical

The big screen version of Take That musical The Band is being actively developed during the lockdown, with ‘high calibre’ film stars being sought to appear in it. 

‘We’re putting it together, and once all the serious things settle down, we can get on with making it,’ Danny Perkins, chief executive of the Elysian Film Group in London, told me exclusively. Shooting is being planned for later this year. 

Take That, led by Gary Barlow, are firmly behind the project. The Band, which was written by Tim Firth and produced by David Pugh, toured widely for two years from 2017.

The Take That legends Gary Barlow, Robbie Williams, Mark Owen and Howard Donald (Jason Orange quit the group) were executive producers of The Band and, along with Pugh, they’ll executive produce the film

The Take That legends Gary Barlow, Robbie Williams, Mark Owen and Howard Donald (Jason Orange quit the group) were executive producers of The Band and, along with Pugh, they’ll executive produce the film

The Take That legends Gary Barlow, Robbie Williams, Mark Owen and Howard Donald (Jason Orange quit the group) were executive producers of The Band and, along with Pugh, they’ll executive produce the film

It focused on five 16-year-old schoolgirls from the north-west of England in 1992, obsessed with a fictional boy band. 

‘A tragedy happens, then we jump forward 25 years to see the women those girls became and they realise they were fools to have been apart for so long,’ Firth told me. 

‘It’s about friendship and the power of the songs they loved. The band and the bits are secondary; it’s about the fans who loved them,’ he said, adding that Take That’s songs fit perfectly into that narrative. 

North Yorkshire-born Firth said he’d been struck by how vital a part popular music has played in the well-being of the nation during the virus crisis. He has adapted his own story for the big screen. 

Take That, led by Gary Barlow, are firmly behind the project. The Band, which was written by Tim Firth and produced by David Pugh, toured widely for two years from 2017

Take That, led by Gary Barlow, are firmly behind the project. The Band, which was written by Tim Firth and produced by David Pugh, toured widely for two years from 2017

Take That, led by Gary Barlow, are firmly behind the project. The Band, which was written by Tim Firth and produced by David Pugh, toured widely for two years from 2017

And Perkins revealed that filmmaker Coky Giedroyc has been signed to direct the picture, which has been officially titled Greatest Days — a nod to Take That’s hit Greatest Day. 

Casting director Jina Jay and acclaimed choreographer Drew McOnie have already begun the search for five boys (who unlike their fans don’t age over the course of the tale) to play the pop stars. Auditions have also begun to find teenagers to play the quintet of girlfriends. 

Perkins told me a number of ‘high calibre names’ have been approached to play the women. Because the pandemic has upended schedules, with prior commitments shifted and side – lined, no contracts have been signed yet. 

The stellar stage cast, which included Rachel Lumberg and the chirpy chaps from Five To Five, sadly aren’t up for any of the main roles. It’s a harsh truth that sometimes films need marquee names to get funding, no matter how great the originators of those parts were. 

The big screen version of Take That musical The Band is being actively developed during the lockdown, with ‘high calibre’ film stars being sought to appear in it. Take That are pictured above posing in boxer shorts and boxing gloves in 1991

The big screen version of Take That musical The Band is being actively developed during the lockdown, with ‘high calibre’ film stars being sought to appear in it. Take That are pictured above posing in boxer shorts and boxing gloves in 1991

The big screen version of Take That musical The Band is being actively developed during the lockdown, with ‘high calibre’ film stars being sought to appear in it. Take That are pictured above posing in boxer shorts and boxing gloves in 1991

The Take That legends Gary Barlow, Robbie Williams, Mark Owen and Howard Donald (Jason Orange quit the group) were executive producers of The Band and, along with Pugh, they’ll executive produce the film. 

Greatest Days will include some of the group’s best known hits including Patience, Back For Good, A Million Love Songs, Shine, Relight My Fire and Could It Be Magic. 

But Perkins told me ‘conversations are going on about the boys writing a new song — or more’ for the picture. 

Soon after 9/11, producer Judy Craymer opened Mamma Mia! on Broadway. 

The film version arrived just after the last financial crisis, and helped to lighten our gloom. 

It could be that Greatest Days is just what we’ll all need when we emerge this time. 

Take That members (from left, Jason Orange, Gary Barlow, Mark Owen, and Howard Donald) are seen performing in Birmingham in 2007

Take That members (from left, Jason Orange, Gary Barlow, Mark Owen, and Howard Donald) are seen performing in Birmingham in 2007

Take That members (from left, Jason Orange, Gary Barlow, Mark Owen, and Howard Donald) are seen performing in Birmingham in 2007

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