The Who’s Roger Daltrey Finishes Script for Keith Moon Biopic: ‘I’m Driven by This Project’

“I want people to get an understanding of him and his life, and the complete genius he was,” the band’s longtime frontman says of its legendary former drummer

roger daltrey keith moon the who
Roger Daltrey and Keith Moon at an album release party in August 1978, a month before the drummer's death (Getty Images)

The Who frontman Roger Daltrey has brought life back to his longtime passion project, a biopic about the iconic rock band’s former drummer, Keith Moon.

Daltrey said in an interview with Vulture that he had recently finished a script for the movie, which had been nearly set to film last summer before Daltrey — with an aversion for a script written by Jeff Pope (“Philomena,” “Stan and Ollie”) — stepped in and halted production. Paul Whittington (“The Crown”) had been set to direct.

Daltrey then committed to writing the script. He said he would now like to get the film shot within two years.

“I’m very pleased with the script,” Daltrey, 78, told Vulture. “I want people to get an understanding of him and his life, and the complete genius he was. He had so much talent, that boy, but he became out of control for a lot of reasons. Mostly for lack of discipline. But once the drugs kick in, usually that disappears, doesn’t it?”

Daltrey said he had an actor in mind for the lead role of the film, which previously had the working title “The Real Me” — also a song on the Who album “Quadrophenia.” Daltrey would not reveal who the actor was, however.

“I’ve got an actor in mind who’s a role model,” Daltrey said. “He might be too old, but then again, Keith looked 50 when he died. He was 32, but he looked 54. I think the actor is about 40 now. I don’t want to jinx it and say his name. But there’s an actor who I’ve seen and when I look at him I go, ‘God, it’s Moon.’ It’s all to do with the eyes. The eyes are all important. You virtually wouldn’t need to say any dialogue because you could read it in his eyes.

“I mean, that’s a bit much, but you know what I mean. You can read so much in the face of Keith. He had such an incredible vibrancy,” Daltrey added.

The biopic about the legendary drummer has been in the works for more than a decade. Daltrey has said he first gave the project serious thought in the early 2000s.

“I got involved when Mike Myers wanted to play him,” Daltrey said. “We were trying to get the film off the ground. I think Mike, when he was younger, would’ve made a fabulous Keith. It’s a shame it never happened. I’m driven by this project. It came to me in a dream 30 years ago.”

Moon would have turned 76 last August. Daltrey revealed the script’s status after being asked by Vulture what Who song “always reminded him” of Moon, to which Daltrey answered “Who Are You” — the hit title song for their album released in August 1978, a month before Moon’s death from an overdose of Heminevrin, a drug that combats alcohol withdrawal.

“Mainly from the video we did with him for the song,” Daltrey said. “We were obviously having a lot of trouble with Keith at the time when we made that album. He wasn’t in the best of shape. He was indulging in quite a lot of naughties. It was a difficult time, but when we came together to do that video to promote the album, Keith joined in on the backing vocals and he was hysterical. There’s something about Keith that he … no matter how naughty he was, you’d have to love him. You’d just have to love him.

“He was a rascal,” Daltrey added. “He used to rope his drum kit up. In the ’60s, when he first joined us, he would bring a length of rope and tie them all together because he would just go crazy. Then, once we started using backing tracks and the headphones, he had to tape them to his head because it could fly off.”