Choir of Hard Knocks…. the movie

Widely-adored television series The Choir of Hard Knocks is now the basis of a feature film drama project, in development under Producer Marian MacGowan (The Rage in Placid Lake, Two Hands, Blessed, Death Defying Acts) and Executive Producer Jason Stephens (The Choir of Hard Knocks, The King, Killing Time).

With a script underway with writer Pip Karmel, the plan is to turn the story into a feelgood feature with actors taking the roles of the choir members. The pitch for the project is the story of a homeless choir from Melbourne who made it all the way to the Sydney Opera House.

It will be directed by¬†Jonathan Teplitzky (Spirited, Better than Sex, Burning Man, Gettin’ Square).

So far the choir has had a hit series, sellout concerts, ARIA Awards, Logie Awards -so why not a feature film?


  1. Ah yes, copyright law, doesn’t take into emotions of those who can’t pay their bills and still eat at food vans, but yes of course, this who own it can rip people’s real stories and replicate their lives for financial gain, but thats ok because the law protects the producers! In one word it’s Exploitation David and there is a thing called morallity and justice, and let’s not forget the Court of Public Opinion that has brought many such projects to their knees, and I hope this is one of them!

  2. Hay David (Knox) I’m really missing something though ???. I miss the 50 member Choir Of Hard Knocks and the 2 member reserve/ training choir The Morning Bells.

    They don’t exist today for one simple reason Nobody invested a razoo in them! Much better to spend the money ( the Choir made) on this movie, don’t you think ??? If they had I’d be a known ( and more importantly promoted) vocalist by now and therefore able to stand on my own vocationally ( or should I say vocally ???)

    Yes, there was no shortage of unrealsistic dreaming in the C of HN but I along with a handful of other choristers could actually work to quite a high standard. I’m now 48 and saw it as the last chance to become a succsessful recording artist ( something I’ve been trying for years to do) but all the people involved in making the C of HN were not the last bit interested in us or the Choirs future, just lining their own pockets.

    To me it’s not only been losing the Choir, it’s been like losing your job or career. Yes, I can make music/films/plays and sing ( as well as write) any time I want, but that costs $$$$ which comes from a very limited income. The sad reality is I’ll most likely do little of the formentioned as it won’t be financially viable.

    But I guess David is missing nothing because he wasn’t in the Choir. I guess if he was We’d have to call it The Choir Of Had Knox. (er, Hard Knox) Seee! told you I was funny ????? Personally I’d rather watch a clip of CSN sing Suite Judy Blue Eyes or sing it myself than watch a minute of the Cof HN movie, it’s simply fast food TV.

    Cheers all.

  3. Matthew Jones

    Wow David, you really are missing what people are saying in these posts, but obviously you are ‘in bed’ with Jason and Fremantle on this! Surely you’ve been in the industry long enough to understood what the word exploration means!?

    • Matthew: I’m not missing anything. I understand those who were there feel put out they are not playing themselves in the piece. That will make a good story for a journo to pursue. There are also many who are objecting to the Milperra miniseries on TEN, just as there was for Underbelly. But Copyright Law isn’t based on emotion. Being part of a real life incident or experience does not make you an actor. Having a contrary opinion does not put me in bed with anybody. I suspect the film is aiming to be another “Brassed Off, Calendar Girls, Full Monty” etc.

  4. One thing that will be missing ( from this movie) will be the so called training and reserve choir ( of the Choir Of Hard Knocks).

    A group of about 20 choiristers that by 2009 were sounding better and doing more complex airingemets than C of HN. ( the latter was allready in decline musicly by then).

    The Choir of Hard Knocks was much more than just the 45 or so official choiristers. Almost 100 staff/ voulenteers/ singers and musos were involved.

    Not one will be in this movie, only about 50 or so actors.

    Now come on, I can’t be eny nicer than this ?????

  5. Gayle "PlatypusPoet" Reynolds

    Win win .. profit share with & employ the Real choir members to act their own parts .. How does your heart feel ***taking advantage*** of those with less .. when you could have understudies if the director is too incompetant to manage a great group of real choir members!

    Who will have the last say .. when their own movie is out?

    Who can take & take without evil creeping into ones everyday existence?

  6. i am a original member from choir of hard knocks 2 choir of hope inspiration i do believe what the big people are doing is so wrong everything is about making money and no matter who they hurt in the progress we told our stories 2 inspire people that there is a way out and that is through what we do we have given people a voice 2 speak up we are not about hurting people like these big people that want 2 ruin people lives lets stand up 4 the rights of others as well of our selves i have achieved so much and touched so many peoples lives leave the series alone its not right 2 be making a movie actors/actress havent been through what we have so what gives them the right everyone lets stand together and be tall and make ourselves heard we are sticking up 4 the right of things because we got taken 4 everything in the first place everyone keep adding ur thoughts everyone has aright 2 be human and not be taken avantage off

  7. Deborah Brooks

    Even if the filmmakers are making a generous donation or giving royalties to the Choir (which is not mentioned) it is appalling that actors would be used and not the real choir. The choir is about real people in real life and are an inspiration to all who hear them – the TV shows, concerts, CDs were all well supported by the general population – so why not let us yet again show our support by using the Real choir, Real conductor in the movie! Give the Choir of Hope the job!

  8. Are the producers reading, listening to and hearing these comments? This sounds like ‘cold as charity’ and bourgeois exploitation. This is to make people who have no real survival struggles ‘feel sad, then heartwarmed”…this would be OK if it went further than this and actually caused people to want to take some action to help but unless you, the producers, lead by example, this won’t happen. So, your example needs to be….”a large percentage of the profits from this movie have been directly contributed to the very people who are portrayed here”. Perhaps you could intersperse some live footage and interviews with the choir members, as previous ‘Choir’ movies have done. Otherwise it’s a fantasy that Joe Blow will soon forget and it will be left a Mercenary act. The Choir members have given you the fodder…the raw material. So you should pay them. Please consider this!!!!

  9. Thanks to everyone out there who still has the right thinking and a heart for the homeless. The people behind this project don’t have either.

    Why do people think that actors can portray these stories better than the people who experienced and survived?

    It’s a totally bizarre and freakish idea. Let the real people speak or shelve the whole thing.

  10. Mecago Endios

    Should I take it as another sign of our decadence in the media, or just pure greed to exploit a group that has already been through a lot in life. To say the least, it’s tastelss not to put the real people, it’s Hollywood at it’s worst without the excuse of being Hollywood.

  11. Capitalism alive and well!

    Consultation and permission with Choir Master Johnathon Welsh and the original members should be made before this project starts!

    What ever happened to inclusivity and respect,???
    It seems that the “movie’ has the sniff of a money making venture.

    And then there is the question of profits?? Where will they be directed. I think that these issues should be addressed.

    Lift you game!!!!

    These people should Not be exploited!

  12. In support to the Choir of Hard Knocks (now Choir of Hope and Inspiration) we hope that the feature film will not go ahead. If it does, then an agreement should be reached between the producers and the choir. Otherwise this so-called “feel good feature” will leave many people feeling everything but, including the very people the feature is about.

  13. This is a great insult to the real choir. I hope that plans to make this film do not go ahead. Now called The Choir of Hope and Inspiration, Johnathon Welch and all his talented bunch have worked so hard to be as widely known as they are today. To have someone try to cash in on this is an injustice. If you must make anything, make a documentary, use the original people. Nothing is as good as the real thing!Profits should go to the Choir of Hope and Inspiration.

  14. Maureen Murray

    Screen Australia making a movie based on the amazing success of The Choir of Hard Knocks (now The Choir of Hope & Inspiration) and its Director, Jonathon Welch?? Surely out of respect there ought to have been consultation with all involved Before the commencement of such a venture. I find it appalling that marginalised people could be exploited in this way, and it is to be hoped that plans for the “feelgood feature film” will be scrapped.

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