Or about extreme paranormal activity? Will it be animated? Will it be any good?
Turns out becoming an outer-space academic isn’t the end of Tom DeLonge’s creative career. The latest run of his former band, Blink-182, got a surprising amount of attention for a lot of reasons: partially from the absence of half of its original lineup, who told Mic. at the time that he needed to dedicate himself to a project called Sekret Machines which “investigate[s] ‘Unidentified Aerial Phenomena’ from a serious perspective.” But it turns out DeLonge had other plans up his sleeve: revealing to THR that he is set to direct his first feature-length film, a project fit for these strange times. It will be titled Strange Times.
True acolytes will know that this is not DeLonge’s first visual narrative, having co-directed and co-written a fifteen-minute short titled Poet Anderson: The Dream Walker, which won Best Animated Film at the Toronto International Short Film Festival in 2014. Co-written and produced by Ben Kull, who had a stint behind the desk at Father of the Pride, a short-lived CGI program with a prime-time slot on NBC which starred the voice of John Goodman, Poet Anderson pitched itself as a kind of anime Clockwork Orange: Akira meets Blade Runner. Tackling a character named Poet Anderson, the short detailed the life of one of the few lucid dreamers out there as he encounters a variety of beasts inside our collective subconscious that he must either chase down or run away from. An attractive female compatriot jumps into that dream world out of love or something and the whole thing feels like Inception reimagined as the kind of animated love story that Christopher Nolan could never stomach. “He’s got the tight pants and he’s kinda got this sense of wonder about him,” DeLonge told KROQ-FM about the character back in 2014, “He’s got a lot of me in him.”
Territory that Strange Times, co-written with Kull, will surely touch on as well. With almost twenty years separating DeLonge from “Dammit,” Blink-182’s first taste of radio airplay, DeLonge has built up an entire universe reconnecting to his roots in the Cali skate scene. In the time since DeLonge’s Poet Anderson, which also inspired comic books, YA novels, and an album called Dream Walker by a band called Angels & Airwaves that is mostly known for being the band DeLonge is in that isn’t Blink-182 and sorta sounds like U2, a similar franchise has been built around Strange Times. A book, the first of a trilogy, has already been published, co-written with award-winning YA novelist Geoff Herbach, and THR reports that Angels & Airwaves is expected to record another corresponding album. But the connection for DeLonge appears to be even more personal; explaining in his statement that Strange Times is “about the tribe of broken youth and the restless spirit that inspired me to form Blink-182 and seek out adventure.”
What kind of adventures can we expect from the man behind “All the Small Things” and who emailed John Podesta during the election about aliens? His turn directly toward the world of his own autobiography suggests something like God Help the Girl (2014), Stuart Murdoch’s teenage dramatic musical that studied a set of, likewise, musically-inclined characters in the Belle & Sebastian frontman’s hometown of Glasgow and netted its cast a prize at Sundance. On the other hand, when Fred Durst, whose band similarly reached the height of its popularity in 1999, made the dive into directing a decade ago, the Jacksonville artist made a New York drama starring Jesse Eisenberg followed by an inspirational sports comedy starring Ice Cube titled The Longshots that did poorly enough at the box office as to dissuade Durst from ever touching a camera again until he started directing eHarmony commercials. So who knows?
Production is slated to begin toward the end of this year, and neither DeLonge nor Kull have given word as to whether or not the product will be animated or who will star in it. A teaser trailer for an animated short that is also part of the Strange Times series, however, exists and can give you some idea of what kind of SoCal ragamuffins DeLonge will be giving voice to.