The Rush Album Geddy Lee Wants to Turn Into a Film Is One Neil Peart Had Hopes For (It’s Not ‘2112’)
In an interview with Vulture to promote his new memoir My Effin' Life, Rush legend Geddy Lee was asked which of the band's songs he'd like to see "adapted into a screenplay." The bassist/singer/keyboardist instead names an album that late drummer Neil Peart had film ambitions for, revealing the sentiment is quite mutual.
Of course, with prog rock being a genre dominated by storytelling, metaphors and symbolism, there's no shortage of material in Rush's 19-album catalog that would be well-suited for a film of any sort.
"There are a couple that could make very different types of films if someone wanted to take them on," Lee tells Vulture, casting aside what is perhaps the most obvious choice — the title track to Rush's epic 1976 album 2112.
"'2112' is obvious as a sci-fi story of 'the individual against the collective.' I think the setting of it would lend itself to visual interpretation. Whether that’s been done too much, I don’t know. You’ve got generations of Star Wars films. It’s not new territory, but there’s something in that story that would translate into the genre," Lee assesses.
"More importantly and more originally," he continues, "I’d love an interpretation of the entirety of Clockwork Angels."
Explaining what makes the band's final studio album (released in 2012) such an ideal choice, the 70-year-old musician says, "It’s based on a classic story of a naïve and innocent person going out into the world, and running away to try to find the place to make his dreams come true. He goes through all those various phases of his life where he’s duped, where he recovers from that, where he falls in love, where he loses his love, and then it all adds up to the fullness of his life."
"That really would lend itself to a fantasy story, but not necessarily a sci-fi fantasy story," Lee adds. Impressed by the current state of TV and film, he further explains, "When you look at what’s been done with shows like The Last of Us or Game of Thrones, you can take cinema anywhere now. Yet the story at the heart of Clockwork Angels is a full circle of life."
Lee also divulges that others have approached the band with "ideas" for an adaptation of "2112" for quite some time, "but nothing has ever really made us want to go down that road."
Drummer Neil Peart (who died in 2020) had a similar vision for the record and, as the band's primary lyricist, had aspirations for expressing the Clockwork Angels via a different creative vessel.
"I know Neil [Peart] always wanted to bring the Clockwork Angels story to the screen in some way or another. It was a big deal for him, and he had done some work in the hopes he could make something like that happen. Maybe one day," Lee concludes.