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Hit music acts take on the movies

A look at upcoming cinematic projects from the Beastie Boys and R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe

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AH RATTTZ: In his first foray into big-league moviemaking, R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe is exec-producing Velvet Goldmine, a film about London’s early-’70s glam-rock demimonde. Starring Trainspotting‘s Ewan MacGregor, the movie is rumored to be loosely based on the volatile professional relationship between David Bowie and Iggy Pop. At Stipe’s instigation, ad hoc supergroup the Wylde Ratttz assembled at New York’s Sear Sound Studios this past January to record songs for the soundtrack. The Ratttz (Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and Steve Shelley, Mudhoney’s Mark Arm, ex-Minutemen bassist Mike Watt, and former Stooge Ron Asheton) cut nine tracks, including two Asheton originals. Says Moore: ”It was like the Stooges ’97.” Other contributors may include Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker, members of Radiohead, and Grant Lee Buffalo. The film is shooting in London.

LICENSED TO FILM: Nascent matinee idols the Beastie Boys (Adam Yauch, Michael Diamond, Adam Horovitz) have teamed with director Spike Jonze and are set to star in their first feature film, a comedy tentatively titled We Can Do This. Scripted by the group and Jonze (who directed the Beasties’ ”Sabotage” video), the film is set to begin production this summer. A source close to the project describes the movie as ”a lot like Woody Allen’s Zelig” crossed with the parodic ’70s cop-show spirit of ”Sabotage,” and says there will be a number of ”surprise” guest stars. However, Beasties fans won’t have to wait until the film’s completion to catch the trio on the big screen: Free Tibet, a documentary of last summer’s Tibetan Freedom concert featuring the Beasties, Beck, Smashing Pumpkins, Fugees, and others, is due this fall.

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