Perfectly timed for the national argument of 10 years ago, a documentary about the rise of once-controversial, Metallica-enraging music sharing service Napster is in the works for VH1, backed by the same division that previously explored pissed-off metal bands in Anvil: The Story Of Anvil. To be fair, the lack of timeliness can’t really be helped: A narrative version of the Napster story has been in the works for about a decade at Paramount's MTV Films division, until that more or less fell apart. But it's remained forever on the mind of Alex Winter, who also knows something about dredging up the past and metal bands thanks to his years of service on the Bill And Ted franchise (the third edition of which is still supposedly forthcoming). Winter, of course, has long since transitioned to directing, having helmed the underrated Freaked as well as several TV projects, and most recently attached himself to a 3-D update of 1987 horror film (and mid-’90s HBO mainstay) The Gate. Which also has something to do with metal, come to think of it.
Anyway, in these intervening years, Winter watched as his plans to tell the story of a game-changing technological innovation and the brash college student who invented it—not to mention the cocky hubris of early Napster figurehead Sean Parker—were usurped by The Social Network. But rather than scrap the project completely, he’s decided to revisit all the sources for his feature script and just do it straight. Winter says his plan is to tell both sides of the Napster story, as he “can understand [Napster creator Shawn] Fanning’s side, but I can also empathize with the horror that Metallica’s Lars Ulrich felt when a single that wasn’t even finished ended up on the radio.” Presumably this film will give Ulrich the chance to get angry about that that all over again, for old time’s sake.