The deal isn’t quite done just yet, but it’s close enough that we can shout it out loud — there’s a KISS biopic in the works at Netflix, which is fast-tracking the project in the hopes it will become the next Bohemian Rhapsody.
Norwegian filmmaker Joachim Rønning (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales) will direct from a script by Ole Sanders, based on an earlier draft by W. Blake Herron. KISS bandmates Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley will produce the movie, which takes its title, Shout It Out Loud, from the group’s hit song off their 1976 album Destroyer.
Deadline broke the news, reporting that the movie will go all the way back to Queens, New York, where Simmons and Stanley were a couple of misfit kids who formed an unlikely friendship before starting their own band with guitarist Ace Frehley and drummer Peter Criss. KISS tried to set themselves apart from the ‘hair’ bands of the day by wearing kabuki makeup and spiked clothing, but it was their wild live shows full of pyrotechnics that drew millions of fans to sold-out stadiums around the world.
In addition to Simmons, Stanley and Rønning, Shout It Out Loud will be produced by Mark Canton of Atmosphere Entertainment, Leigh Ann Burton of Opus 7 and Courtney Solomon as well as David Blackman and Jody Gerson of Universal Music Group and KISS’ longtime manager Doc McGhee of McGee Entertainment. Atmosphere’s Dorothy Canton will executive produce alongside David Hopwood.
Given the fact that KISS has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, there was a bidding war for the band’s biopic, and Netflix tends to come out on top in such matters. KISS was voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, and the glitter-rock band is preparing to resume its “End of the Road Tour,” which was paused due to the pandemic. If the band’s members are, in fact, putting away their makeup brushes and retiring more than 50 years after Simmons and Stanley first met, the Netflix biopic should provide a fitting send-off.
Though I didn’t see Rønning‘s two Disney sequels — he also directed Maleficent: Mistress of Evil — I really liked the 2012 drama Kon-Tiki that he co-directed with Espen Sandberg, and while he’s something of a surprising choice for this project, he may very well be the right KISS fan for the job. If not, there’s always Adam Rifkin, whose 1999 comedy Detroit Rock City is a wildly underappreciated homage to all things KISS.