Biopic on Pinoy rock star eyed

Rock singer and Journey frontman Arnel Pineda took to social media to express his excitement over a report that Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu is eyeing to direct a film based on his life.

The 51-year-old Pineda responded to an article that appeared on entertainment news website Deadline on Dec. 5 which reported that Chu and Warner Bros plan to produce a biopic about the formerly homeless Filipino singer who became a rock star after his video became viral on YouTube.


“If this article is even just half-true ... I’m quite honored.. and should be an exciting movie to do .. but you need to reach out to me #MrJonMChu @wbpictures coz I’m right here waiting ..” Pineda said on his Instagram post.

Based on the “exclusive report,” Warner Bros is re-teaming with the Crazy Rich Asians director to chronicle the journey of Pineda, described by the entertainment site as a Filipino singer rescued from obscurity by a YouTube video that led him to become the lead singer of the iconic ’80s arena rock band Journey. 

The article also quoted that the studio is negotiating to license the original Journey tunes, mostly written by Steve Perry and Neal Schon. It added that the production outfit has acquired rights to ”Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey,” the 2012 documentary that chronicled Pineda’s impossible rise. 

“Chu’s vision is to make an empowering movie that follows the real-life rock ‘n’ roll fairy tale of a formerly homeless Filipino singer to overnight rock star,” the article said.

“This story in particular has been on my mind since I first read about it years ago. A true fairy tale and triumph of the human spirit. An unlikely hero, an undeniable talent, the power of music and a worldwide stage (literally) has all the ingredients I love about movies. Plus I have been a fan of Journey’s music since I can remember,” Chu said in a statement to Deadline. 

Pineda started his career in music in 1982 as the lead singer of the Filipino group Ijos. The then 15-year-old Pineda made both ends meet by singing in a pizza parlor in Manila. He suffered from drug addiction while a struggling singer.  

In 2007, Journey guitarist Neal Schon found Pineda on YouTube after seeing him cover American songs included in the band’s hit album Don’t Stop Believin’. He sent an email to Pineda asking him to audition to be the band’s lead vocalist. The latter thought it was a hoax and didn’t respond immediately.   

On February 21, 2008 at the Viña del Mar International Song Festival held in Chile, Pineda debuted as the lead singer of the American rock band. 

Topics: Arnel Pineda , Jon Chu , Crazy Rich Asians , Journey , Warner Bros
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