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Pandemic led a musician to make ‘Supernova’

Dan Reed opened for the Stones in 1990 and now lives in Prague making music and movies.

The coronavirus pandemic has put the plans of most entertainers on hold. Prague-based Musician Dan Reed decided to put his unexpected free time to use by writing a short film, codenamed Supernova for now.

Production is already underway, and the filmmakers are hoping for about 70 extras for the film’s biggest scene. The public can follow along with how production progresses on the film’s Facebook page at SupernovaMovie. https://www.facebook.com/SupernovaFilm

The film will showcase music from the upcoming Dan Reed Network (DRN) album, but it is not an extended music video. Instead, it is a dramatic film.

If people saw the name Dan Reed Network recently in the news, it is because the same band in 1990 opened for the Rolling Stones at their legendary show at Prague’s Strahov Stadium. Reed also toured with David Bowie and Bon Jovi.

“I think this is our best album since out debut album back in 1987. I wanted to do something different for this record rather than make music videos. I like writing dramatic scripts. I did a feature film back in 1997 [called Zigzag]. So I kind of wanted to go back to those roots since all of our tours got cancelled,” Reed said.

 

 

“I wrote this script. The local film crews and the actors I wanted to work with all loved it. And then we started putting the production together. The music that we are using from the new album is more like incidental music. There’s one practical scene where the music is part of a cabaret show,” he added.

The scene takes place in a club called Supernova, which is the working title for the film. “We’re not giving out the real title yet,” Reed said.

The film is coming out in March, and the album shortly after that, unless the pandemic further complicates plans.

Reed is hopeful the first episode might lead to a series, and add that the idea is something he hasn’t seen before on Netflix or HBO Go. If streaming services don’t pick it up, he will take it to festivals.

“It takes at an underground cabaret club in this mythical city, maybe an alternate timeline, and it is really a kind of modern-day Robin Hood tale where Robin Hood is a very socially inept, twisted character because of his past. But everything he is doing he is doing for the betterment of children. It’s pretty cool. He had a tough life as a kid as well,” he said.

The film is using about 30 actors, not counting extras. Including the crew, it is like a major motion picture, but the shooting will take only six days.

“It’s a short script, but I wanted to make sure it had some excellent dramatic points where it made you think. At the end of the day, it’s a fascinating moral tale. It might seem really dark and twisted, but at the end, you see there is some sort of hope, some kind of light that is being borne from all of this darkness that is going on,” Reed said.

 

 

One of the significant roles for a film is the director of photography. Paul Mortlock has experience in advertising and worked on a music video with Reed. The film will be shot digitally in widescreen. “It will look like Lawrence of Arabia when we are done with it,” Reed said.

The leading role will’ be played by Michael Abubakar, a rising star from Glasgow who has been on the London theatre scene. Abubakar has also played keyboards with Reed in the past. “He’s a great musician but also a wonderful actor.”

Locally based actors David Bowles and Dan Brown, who have both appeared in films and series shot here, also have roles.

Reed’s first visit to Prague was a bit unusual. He came as part of the entourage for the Rolling Stones’ historic post–Velvet Revolution show. “Since playing here back in 1990 with the Stones I always loved this city, and I always dreamed of coming back,” he said.

“It was our favourite show of the whole tour because the audience was off the chain. They had never had a show like that here. And after our first song, the rain stopped, and the crowd just went nuts,” he said. “And after the show, we walked down from the hill [at Strahov] to Kampa, and there were these once-underground clubs that were now open, and jazz musicians were playing, people passing out flowers. That celebratory atmosphere stuck with me my whole life.”

A musician friend asked him to play an acoustic show in Prague in 2010, and he found the city to be much more colourful. He thought he would stay for a year. “I met my girlfriend in that year, and the rest is history,” he said, adding that they now have a 7-year-old son.

“I love it here. I think it is a wonderful place to raise a child. It can be the Hollywood of Europe, eventually, without being cheesy. It has a good core crew and acting base,” he said, hinting that he had other planned film and video projects up his sleeve.

Reed toured with David Bowie on the Glass Spider tour and Bon Jovi on the New Jersey tour, both in the late 1980s. “The Bon Jovi guys were really approachable. From the Stones, Ronnie Wood was great. Charlie Watts would say hi to us every day and wish us good luck. A real classy gentleman,” Reed said. Mick Jagger was a bit more standoffish, and Keith Richards at the time was facing health issues and not socializing much. “Probably the nicest guy I met in the music business was David Bowie,” Reed added, also praising Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant and Lemmy from Motörhead.

After the Stones tour, Reed left the music business for a short break that stretched to 15 years. Over the last 11 years, though he has released four solo albums and two DRN records, not counting the one to be released early next year.