'Frank' Director Lenny Abrahamson on Telling a Quirky Musical Story

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Lenny Abrahamson’s film Frank, releasing in the U.S. today, received rave reviews when it premiered at Sundance and also a lot of press for featuring Michael Fassbender wearing a giant papier-mâché head. The film is about a man named Jon (Domhall Gleeson) who joins the eccentric band Soronprfbs led by Frank (Fassbender).

“I think there are many hooks to the film,” Abrahamson tells IFTN about the film’s buzz. “The first one is that it’s a film with Michael Fassbender wearing a fake head, which is something that’s worth talking about and it’s been an endless fascination for journalists.”

“The music is another thing that people hold onto,” Abrahamson continues. “The film has also got loads to say about social media, and that’s another thing people are really interested in at the moment.”

Making sure the music sounded and looked right was a big part of the film’s production. “Frank is a film which is full of music and is about music. There’s an inventive band in the film, so when you invent the band you have to invent their sound and their music, and it so rarely works in films when there’s a fictional performer or a fictional musician or band, because they usually sound like they’re just doing knock-off songs,” Abrahamson says. “[Composer] Stephen [Rennicks] would get to know the musical level of each actor, because we’d want musical actors and want them to play live in the film, not to playback. Stephen would get an idea of what each actor was capable of and then the music was written so that they really could play it.”

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