By our guest blogger, Nick Hanover
In quite possibly the weirdest news in who knows how long, Vulture is reporting that sisters Elle and Dakota Fanning are in talks to star in a biopic about the Shaggs. I know you're already asking yourself, "who the hell are the Shaggs?"
The Shaggs were a New Hampshire band comprised of the three Wiggins sisters. The band formed because their father was convinced they were going to be huge. Why? Because his mother had read his palm and determined that he would sire a popular musical group. Yes, you read that right.
From all accounts, the Wiggins sisters themselves didn't care much for music but their father, Austin, was adamant that they keep at it--to the point that he took them out of school and bought them all the equipment they needed to be a proper band. The only problem was that the Wiggins sisters had no idea how to play their instruments and even though Austin enrolled them in lessons, their approach to music remained highly irregular.
Nonetheless, Austin paid to have them recorded at a proper studio and to get 1,000 copies of the resulting sessions pressed as an LP titled Philosophy of the World. Legend has it that the engineers of the session were so baffled by the girls that when they would occasionally stop after allegedly making a mistake, the engineers would wonder just how they even knew they had made a mistake. When the album was to be pressed, the man hired to do the honors apparently ran off with all but 100 copies of the LP and all of the family's money for the project.
But somehow a few copies made it into some very important hands, most notably Terry Adams and Tom Ardolino, who reissued the album and brought it to the attention of Rolling Stone, who liked it enough to proclaim the Shaggs the "comeback of the year." The Shaggs also found fans in Cub Koda, of Brownsville Station and AllMusic fame, Frank Zappa, Lester Bangs, who claimed the Shaggs were "better than the Beatles," and more modern day artists like Kimya Dawson.
The movie rights to the band's story have been in the possession of Artisan since 2000 and Katherine Dieckmann has been attached as the director and writer since then. Before the Dakotas, Kirsten Dunst was rumored to be part of the project but left after the Spider-Man franchise took off. There is also a stage musical called "Philosophy of the World" that is finally making a run now as well.