Paul Kelly‘s iconic ballad, ‘How to Make Gravy’, written from the perspective of a man in prison named Joe writing home to his brother Dan at Christmas, is set to be adapted into a film.
Warner Bros Australia in partnership with Megan Washington and filmmaker Nick Waterman’s Speech and Drama Pictures have acquired the exclusive film rights to the song, Variety reports. No other details regarding the film’s timeline or planned release date are available. “Dan and Joe and Rita and Angus and Dolly and all the others have been stuck inside that song so long, I’m glad they’re going to get a chance to live life a different way,” Kelly commented.
Michael Brooks, managing director of Warner Bros International Television Production Australia, said “few songs” had “risen to cult status” in the way that ‘How to Make Gravy’ had. “It’s a privilege to be given the opportunity, alongside our partners Megan and Nick at Speech & Drama, to unravel the mystery and meaning captured in Paul’s now iconic lyrics and bring this incredible story to the screen.”
Kelly originally wrote ‘How to Make Gravy’ in 1996 as part of a Christmas song charity compilation, The Spirit of Christmas. Kelly also released the song as part of an EP, and it’s become a beloved staple of his catalogue since. In it, the character Joe expresses remorse that he can’t be with his family during the holiday season, asking his brother to take care of his wife and kids. December 21st – which Joe’s letter is dated in the song – has become known as “Gravy Day” among fans.
“[How to Make Gravy’s] characters are already beloved by so many who have imagined the story behind Joe’s letter themselves,” Washington and Waterman added.
“There’s so much to be found in the space between what he must be feeling in prison at Christmas and what he writes in his letter to his brother. This song holds a special place in our hearts. It’s an honour to be bringing it to life.”