Lovin’ isn’t all Sublime fans have got to look forward to — a new biopic on the California reggae-punk trio fronted by the late singer-guitarist Bradley Nowell is reporedly in development.
Sony’s 3000 Pictures, Chernin Entertainment, about:blank, Dave Kaplan and Peter Paterno are developing a film on the iconic band, to be directed by Francis Lawrence (Catching Fire, Constantine). Four-time Emmy nominee Chris Mundy (Ozark) is writing the script, with Peter Chernin, Jenno Toping and David Ready from Chernin Entertainment, Lawrence from about:blank, and Dave Kaplan of Surfdog/DKM and Paterno of KHPS producing. Surviving bandmembers Bud Gaugh and Eric Wilson, along with Bradley’s widow Troy Nowell and son Jakob Nowell on behalf of Nowell’s estate, and Surfdog/DKM’s Scott Seine are executive producing. Cameron MacConomy is executive producing for about:blank.
The laid-back Long Beach trio spawned an entire genre, fusing reggae grooves, punk grittiness, ska energy, back porch folk introspection, and hip-hop swagger. The wide appeal of Sublime’s music made them a household name, a milestone uniquely reached only after the untimely passing of lead singer Nowell. What I Got, Santeria, Wrong Way and Doin’ Time endure as innovative staples from the ‘90’s alternative boom with continued radio airplay and massive commercial success 30 years after they first hit the airwaves. The music remains timeless, bringing together an expansive community of listeners and passionate fans from all across the musical spectrum, cementing Sublime as a cultural staple that continues to live on and reach new audiences.
“Wow — we can’t believe this is finally happening and we couldn’t be more honored and excited to have the great Francis Lawrence and Chris Mundy telling our story. We are so grateful to Peter Paterno and Dave Kaplan/Surfdog for their years of persistence and vision in getting this film going and thankful to Sony’s 3000 Pictures and Chernin Entertainment for believing in us and getting it on the big screen,” said Gaugh, Wilson, and the Nowells in a statement. “We know Bradley’s talent and spirit will be part of this incredible journey.”
“We’re thrilled Sublime’s insanely cool and important story will finally be told,” added manager Kaplan. “They were fearless and pioneering in bringing together so many musical genres, cultures, and lifestyles during their short time as a band, and their music is still influencing musicians and artists to this day. Peter Paterno and I spent the last 6 years searching for the right partners and we are pinching ourselves with this dream team of Elizabeth Gabler and Marisa Paiva at 3000 Pictures, Francis Lawrence, Chris Mundy and the Chernin folks and can’t wait to see this film get made.”
Sublime were founded in 1988 by Wilson, Gaugh and Nowell. Their first self-produced album, 40oz. to Freedom, was released in 1992 via the band’s label Skunk Records. Following the success of that album, Sublime signed to MCA Records in time for the band’s 1994 sophomore album Robbin’ the Hood, which revealed an experimental ethic more in keeping with cut-and-paste dub than the well-tuned rage of the Cali punk revival. The album performed well at college radio and set the stage for the breakout success of their self-titled third album.
On May 25, 1996, however, Nowell tragically passed away and the band collapsed, but the eponymous album was still slated for a July 1996 release. On the strength of the chart-topping alternative radio hit What I Got, the album was certified gold by the end of 1996. Santeria and Wrong Way followed and enjoyed heavy airplay, and their self-titled album eventually sold more than seven million copies, making it one of the most popular reggae-punk albums in history. The success spread to the band’s earlier albums, leading 40oz. to Freedom to double-platinum sales and Robbin’ the Hood to gold certification. Sublime have gone on to sell over 18 million RIAA certified albums in the U.S., and their genre-defining music and their cultural influence is stronger today than ever before.