The life story of a Filipino singer “rescued from obscurity by a YouTube video that led him to become the lead singer of the iconic ‘80s arena rock band Journey” is reportedly being worked out to be filmed for the silver screen.
In an article by Mike Fleming published Dec. 5 on Hollywood-based news site, Deadline, “Crazy Rich Asians” director Jon M. Chu was said to have revealed he is re-teaming with Warner Bros to chronicle the journey of Arnel Pineda, whom he illustrated as an “unlikely hero” and “an undeniable talent.”
He even described Pineda’s story as a “true fairy tale and triumph of the human spirit.”
“The success of ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ has blown my mind and set me on a path to champion more unique inspirational stories that represent new perspectives from all around the world,” Chu said in a statement to Deadline. “This story in particular has been on my mind since I first read about it years ago… the power of music and a worldwide stage (literally) has all the ingredients I love about movies. Plus I have been a fan of Journey’s music since I can remember. I am excited to be bringing the audience along on this incredible story with my partners at Warner Bros who have been a leading champion of diverse voices in front and behind the camera.”
Pineda began singing at a pizza parlor when he was 15. He openly admitted he once suffered from asthma and used illegal substance.
In 2007, the Filipino singer was discovered on YouTube by Journey co-founder Neal Schon. He reportedly picked Pineda for his rare voice that could replicate the powerful vocals of exited original lead singer Steve Perry, best known for the band’s hits such as “Don’t Stop Believin’” and “Foolish Heart.”
Perry, after a long sabbatical he recently released a new album and took the stage with Pineda, Schon and the rest of the band when Journey was inducted in the Rock N’ Roll Hall Of Fame in 2017.
In the same article, Warner Bros. is said to be negotiating to license the original Journey tunes, mostly written by Perry and Schon, and the studio has acquired rights to “Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey,” a 2012 documentary that chronicled Pineda’s “impossible rise.”
Fleming added that the film comes on the heels of the out-sized success of the Freddie Mercury and Queen film “Bohemian Rhapsody,” a crowd pleasing biopic that has grossed over $540 million and put Rami Malek in the Best Actor conversation.
According to him, Pineda’s tale is “more astounding and this film will tell his true story, one that has ambitions to be something like ‘Slumdog Millionaire.’”
Chu, on the other hand, said his vision is to “make an empowering movie that follows the real life rock ‘n’ roll fairy tale of a formerly homeless Filipino singer to overnight rock star.”
Deadline reported Temple Hill’s Marty Bowen will produce, and the search for a writer is underway. The project will be overseen for the studio by Kevin McCormick.