The following is a transcript from an interview with Jon Ronson on Plain Ketchup from October 2012. At the time, Ronson’s film Frank had not yet hit cinemas, but you can now get it on DVD and some streaming services. If you’re interested, there is also a book and audiobook that Ronson wrote to talk about Frank Sidebottom.
“There’s someone called Frank, but it’s not, as has been reported, based on a man called Frank Sidebottom, who was a comedy musician who I played with for three years in the 1980s. Frank was a really big inspiration to the film and my time in Frank’s band massively inspired the film, but the film isn’t about Frank, even though we’ve called the lead singer Frank, which I can see now has created some confusion. It’s a film about being in a band. It’s a comedy. And it was written by me and Peter Straughn, who wrote The Men Who Stare at Goats screenplay and Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy.
“We started writing it in Puerto Rico. When they started filming The Men Who Stare at Goats, I was sitting at home in London on the internet, and I saw these paparazzi shots of George Clooney on a sun lounger at the hotel where they were all staying, where they were filming The Men Who Stare at Goats. And I thought to myself, Oh my god, they must be having unimaginable fun. It’s a world I can’t even imagine how amazing this world is. So I phoned the producer and said, “I want to come over,” and he said okay. So I went there with Peter, and it turns out they’re not having unimaginable fun. They’re doing hard work, twelve hour days, sitting there on a hot film set, boring. So after the second day, I said to Peter, “Can we not go on the set today, please?” and instead, we sat by the pool and started to talk about this film. So, we really started writing it there in Puerto Rico, and we’ve been writing it ever since. So, it’s been four or five years we’ve been writing it.”
“Michael Fassbender and Domhnal Gleeson, who is just great. He’s incredibly funny, and nerdy, and just kind of perfect for the part that we wrote.”