It’s a dull, overcast day outside, and you can’t figure out why you’re feeling slightly sad, slightly gay, and slightly British. There’s a melancholy chill in the air and it’s blown in from the UK, where pre-production has begun on a new project titled Steven, a biopic chronicling the younger years of Steven Patrick Morrissey.
As the frontman for The Smiths during the ’80s, the rock icon known to his many fans as Moz captured the same distinctly British post-industrial hopelessness as the punks had in the previous decade, but replaced their yowling rage with a reaction marked by misery, literary references, and overall downer-hood. Striking a chord with bummed-out teens (curiously, in particular, Latino and Latina teens), his was an essential voice of the era, his world-weary vocals putting words to a sadness many of his listeners didn’t know how to express. After departing The Smiths, Morrissey would launch a prolific and successful solo career, while turning his attentions toward political matters, championing the cause of veganism vocally throughout the past couple decades. But Steven will focus on the icon’s younger years, when a teenaged Morrissey met Johnny Marr and started making plans to form a band.
Giving life to this early-years Morrissey is British actor Jack Lowden, announced as the production’s pick on Deadline earlier today. Primarily a veteran of the theatre, the 25-year-old scored a key supporting role in last year’s ’71 and got some additional exposure with a leading role in the BBC’s adaptation of War and Peace. “To act in your movie, such a heavenly way to act,” he presumably told the film’s producers, securing his role in the project with a perfect and situationally appropriate joke. Or perhaps the casting director simply noticed the striking similarity in facial structure between Moz and Lowden, and decided to go from there. Who knows how they conduct themselves outside of Hollywood?