March 27, 2017


Pharrell's Childhood Getting the Movie Musical Treatment With 'Atlantis'

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Pharrell can sing, rap, make beats, score Oscar nominations for producing movies and writing music for them, conduct spectacular interviews, coach The Voice contestants and mentally deal with the reality of having triplets. It's time we get a musical about his life.

While the title might throw you off, Atlantis will be based on Skateboard P's Virginia Beach childhood. The Hollywood Reporter says there's a Romeo & Juliet romance vibe to the story, and that the "Happy" hitmaker will produce. 

Speaking at NYU in 2015, Pharrell said:

"I grew up in these apartments called Atlantis Apartments. Believe it or not, Atlantis. Seriously. And it was probably the most fun I ever had in my life. ... Music was everywhere, you know, it was like air, it was like you go outside to hear music, you are in the house, someone's playing music. It was just music was just like second nature. ... And then my mom's mom lived in that neighborhood as well, so I would go over there and she used to play, like, gospel music. And my aunt lived with her. And she played a lot of music."

Back in 2006, he had a slightly different take for XXL:

"Fuck the beats—who’s the guy? Because that’s what it all comes down to. The beat is a fruit from the tree, right? The tree would be me and my life and how I’ve grown. The seed would be where it was planted, and what kind of things in that environment allowed it to grow. I came from Atlantis Apartments, a housing project in Virginia Beach—and that’s where all my best friends ended up dead, in jail, shot, or on drugs. I moved to the suburbs when I was 7-and-a-half." 

Pharrell and his Neptunes/N.E.R.D. collaborator Chad Hugo met at age 12, so we might even get into that part of his story.

Atlantis will come from director Michael Mayer, whose Broadway work includes Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Spring Awakening and Green Day's American Idiot. Onscreen he's directed the TV programs Smash and Hatfields & McCoys, plus the films A Home at the End of the World and Flicka. Stealing Harvard writer Martin Hynes is doing the script.

Listen to the Back of the Class podcast talk about Pharrell and Helen Lasichanh's triplets: