Grass Roots (film)
From left to right: Phineas Freakears, Freewheelin’ Franklin, and Fat Freddy
|Directed by||Dave Borthwick|
|Produced by||David Lascelles
|Written by||Gilbert Shelton
Paul B. Davies
|Cinematography||Dave Alex Riddett|
The government develops genetically modified marijuana as part of the War on Drugs, and Norbert the Nark accidentally gives the prototype to the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers. With the government on their trail, Phineas Freakears, Freewheelin’ Franklin, and Fat Freddy are forced to leave town, acquiring a remote plot of land in order to fulfill their dream of retiring to grow marijuana in the country. Three women join the Freak Brothers’ commune, but because gender politics have changed since the 1970s, they do not see eye to eye with the Brothers’ free love philosophy.
Prior to Grass Roots, there had been several attempts to film the stories. There was even an unauthorized pornographic film titled Up in Flames, which “ripped off the Freak Brothers, Mr. Natural and Cheech and Chong all in one go.”
In 1979, Rip Off Press received $250,000 from Universal Pictures for a five-year option on a live-action film based on the characters. Although a script was written, the film was never done. It was rumored that Universal bought the rights in order to prevent competition against the Cheech and Chong franchise. Over the next 25 years there were several more options taken on film rights, but none of them went to production.
In 2006, Celluloid Dreams, in association with bolexbrothers and X Filme, began production on an animated film based on the Freak Brothers comics. Grass Roots was going to be directed by Dave Borthwick, whose previous credits include The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb and The Magic Roundabout. Cinematographer Dave Alex Riddett previously worked as the cinematographer on several Aardman Animations productions, including the Wallace and Gromit shorts and feature film, and Chicken Run. Test animation was released through Celluloid Dreams’ official website. As of 2012, the film was still in pre-production limbo, with the producers still unable to raise the necessary budget; they are reportedly adapting the story into a stage musical.
- “X takes ‘Grassroots’ toke”. The Hollywood Reporter. 14 February 2006.
- “The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers Movie!”. Rip Off Press, Inc.’s Freak Brothers Factory Store. Retrieved 26 January 2007.
- Don Markstein. “The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers”. Toonopedia. Retrieved 26 January 2007.
- Kuznik, Frank (1 July 2009). “Drawing conclusions”. The Prague Post.
- Knowles, Harry (13 January 2006). “There Is A God!!! I’ve Got Absolute Indisputable Proof of His Existence!!!”. Ain’t It Cool News. Retrieved 15 April 2010.
- Ball, Tom. “Furry Freak Bros. Footage Online”. Animation Magazine. Retrieved 15 April 2010.