Pavement Documentary in the Works by ‘Christopher Robin’ Screenwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Screenwriter, actor, and director Alex Ross Perry is producing a documentary about the recently reunited ’90s alt-rockers Pavement. 

The director, who also wrote the 2018 Winnie the Pooh-inspired film, Christopher Robin, and the drama Nostalgia, starring Jon Hamm, Ellen Burstyn, and Patton Oswalt, recently staged a musical theater show in New York City, Slanted! Enchanted!: A Pavement Musical. Named after the band’s 1992 debut album, the stage production is reportedly part of the upcoming film.

Perry, who also directed Pavement’s video for “Harness Your Hopes” in 1997, said he wanted to write something “legitimate, ridiculous, real, fake, idiotic, cliché, illogical,” around the band’s story.

Mixing scenes from the musical, along with more documentary and biopic elements, Perry has been working with Pavement frontman Stephen Malkmus on the direction of the film. The filmmaker was first approached three years ago by the band’s label, Matador, about collaborating on a film. The band wanted a film, but Malkmus didn’t want to hire a documentary filmmaker. He wanted a screenwriter but not a screenplay.

“No one knew what that meant,” said Perry, who went on to describe his approach to the film. “You take the Todd Haynes Bob Dylan movie, the Scorsese documentary, the Pennebaker documentary, and the movie Dylan himself directed that everyone hates—’Renaldo and Clara’—and put them all in a blender. Malkmus is neck and neck with [Stephen] Sondheim in terms of his narrative storytelling, his sense of allusion, and wordplay. ”

In addition to the forthcoming documentary, this year has already been an eventful one for Pavement, who recently reunited for a tour in the U.S. and Europe in 2022. The dates marked the band’s first shows together since their reunion in 2010 after disbanding in 1999.

Though reunited, frontman Stephen Malkmus insisted that there wouldn’t be any new songs mixed into their set lists. “We’re just doing the live shows,” said Malkmus. “I just think we should try and be like the 1990s—that’s the goal, and to the best of my ability, tap into the vibe of what the band was. It’s pretty much just pure nostalgia in my mind, but I want to try and get that right.”

Earlier in 2022, Pavement was also honored with album-themed pierogi in Parma, Ohio. A collaboration between local Parma businesses, Schnitz Ale Brewery and Rudy’s Strudel, the selection of pierogi featured five flavors, each named after a Pavement album, and a flight a beers.

Photo: Tarina Westlund / Matador Records

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