Considering the nature of the act, it’s surprising that — not counting the 2019 documentary Gorillaz: Reject False Icons — a Gorillaz movie doesn’t yet exist. That’s set to change in the not-too-distant future. Not only is a Gorillaz movie in the works, but we now know once it’s finally ready for audiences, it will be released on the streaming giant Netflix.
The news comes from Gorillaz co-creator Damon Albarn, who briefly mentioned the Gorillaz movie during an interview with Apple Music (via Collider). Albarn said he was at Netflix — presumably their offices — because he was working on a “full-length Gorrilaz film” there. He went on to say he was going to be a part of a writing session for the feature which he was excited for, since the idea for the movie had apparently been brewing “for a very long time.”
The first time Albarn spoke publicly about the Gorillaz movie was last December, a couple of months after the release of the band’s latest album Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez. Albarn said both more and less about the project at the time. He told Radio.com he was “supposed to be” developing a film while working on the follow-up to Song Machine, Season One. Albarn said he and collaborator Jamie Hewlett “signed contracts, we’ve begun scripts and stuff,” without mentioning who they had made their deal with. He also described the feature as “an animated film that’s kind of abstract,” without giving further details.
Gorillaz is the brainchild of Blur frontman Damon Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett — the latter being previously known best as co-creator of the counterculture comic book Tank Girl. As Wired recounts, long before any Gorillaz movie was in the works, Albarn and Hewlett were flatmates. In spite of not liking each other very much at first, the two found common ground in their revulsion toward boy bands, who they saw as manufactured artists. So, as commentary, the pair created a band that was literally manufactured or, perhaps more accurately, virtual. While in real life the only consistent musical member of Gorillaz is Albarn, the animated band members are 2D, Murdoc Niccals, Russel Hobbs, and Noodle. Throughout their music and videos, the quintet creates their own fictional universe.
While in the earliest days of Gorillaz Albarn and Hewlett kept their identities relatively secret — conducting interviews and even live performances through the animated band members — according to Albarn, they’ve been “out of hiding” a lot longer than most fans realize. As early as 2005 — after releasing the second Gorillaz album, Demon Days — Albarn and collaborators performed live without any animated doubles for five nights at the Manchester Opera House, per NME.com. Still, Albarn told NME most people did not realize at the time that he was one of the two people behind Gorillaz, and still mostly associated him only with the rock band Blur.
Whenever the Gorillaz movie does hit Netflix, it’s sure to include some famous collaborators. Albarn has worked with an impressive and diverse list of artists for Gorillaz albums, videos, and live performances. Just a short sample includes Mos Def, De Le Soul, Robert Smith, Beck, Danger Mouse, Carly Simon, Elton John, Snoop Dogg, Lou Reed, and many others. In fact, one such collaboration facilitated a reunion 30 years in the making. According to The Daily Record, when Paul Simonon and Mick Jones of The Clash performed for the 2010 album Plastic Beach, it was the first time in three decades the former bandmates played together.