Damon Albarn has revealed that the Gorillaz project was killed off by the streaming platform Netflix last year.
All the way back in November of 2021, we covered the story that Netflix was set to produce a Gorillaz movie, giving Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlwtt’s fictional band a feature-length outing. Albarn himself confirmed the story and everything sounded pretty rosy.
Unfortunately, it looks like the Gorillaz project may have been a victim of Netflix’s rather wobbly 2022. The ongoing ‘Streaming Wars’ resulted in a difficult year for the company: its founder moved away from day-to-day management of the company and Netflix lost subscribers for the first time in its history, causing important Wall Street types to question to the core viability of the streaming sector.
One of the victims of that fallout appears to be the Gorillaz project. According to Stereogum, Albarn had this to say about the film when asked if it was dead: “Yes. That is to say, and without naming names because the whole matter has not yet been settled: the streaming platform for which we were making the film has withdrawn. They started to panic because they were making too much content and decided to cut back on their movie offerings. And, as has been classic Hollywood practice for decades, the guy we were working with has moved on to another company.
From then on you have lost your guardian angel, and there seems to be a bad smell hanging on you. Hollywood is quite territorial: if a new guy comes along, he must and will have a different opinion, even if he secretly agrees with his predecessor.”
It’s a scathing (and rather incisive) assessment of the way that studio executives seem to work but the result seems to be in no doubt: the Gorillaz project is yet another victim of Netflix’s continued purge on animation. We’re especially sorry for the band’s co-founder and Tank Girl creator, Jamie Hewlett who handles all of the animation for the band. We would have loved to have seen what he would have done with a feature-length running time and a sizeable budget.
If there’s one silver lining, it’s that the music that the band reportedly recorded for the film, Cracker Island, is being released this Friday. So you could always listen to that, close your eyes and see what kind of film projects onto the back of your eyelids. Netflix doesn’t own the back of your eyelids. Not yet anyway.
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