Steve Carell has shown off his musical pipes on film many times, whether crooning “Age of Aquarius” in The 40 Year Old Virgin, or harmonizing with Dane “voice of an angel” Cook in Dan in Real Life. But does he have what it takes to play an international pop idol? Warner Bros. thinks so: Vulture has learned that the studio is negotiating to buy the rights to remake the unreleased documentary Of All the Things — which traced Dennis Lambert’s transformation from musical hit-maker to suburban Florida real-estate agent to one of the most beloved pop stars in the Philippines — as a comedic starring vehicle for Carell.
During the late sixties until the mid-eighties, Lambert was one of pop music’s top songwriters, writing, co-writing, or producing hits like the Four Tops’ “Ain’t No Woman (Like the One I Got)”; Glen Campbell’s “Rhinestone Cowboy”; The Commodores’ Grammy-winning “Nightshift”; Starship’s “We Built This City” — and, yes, even “Baby Come Back” by the one-hit wonder Player.
In 1972, in the middle of all that offstage success, Lambert made his first and only attempt at being a recording artist: He cut a little-heard album called Bags and Things. It sank like a stone, and was quickly forgotten almost everywhere — but not in the Philippines, where it took off; even today the record’s single, “Of All the Things,” remains a staple at Filipino weddings.
For almost 35 years, a Filipino concert promoter courted Lambert, urging him to tour his country and meet the 92 million fans he never knew he had. But Lambert always demurred. Then, finally, at the age of 60, Lambert relented, playing five dates in 2007. He got a hero’s welcome, capped by a massive sold-out Valentine’s Day concert at Araneta Coliseum — the same location where Muhammad Ali famously battled Joe Frazier for the world heavyweight title in 1975’s “Thrilla in Manila.”
Lambert’s son, Jody, tagged along, filming the whole tour. The result was the documentary Of All the Things, which played numerous film festivals two years ago to positive reviews (indieWIRE singled it out as one of the best unreleased films of 2008). Insiders tell Vulture that negotiations with Warner Bros. include a possible limited theatrical release for the original documentary, or at the least, a DVD release.