Tom DeLonge has never aspired to be a movie star, but the founder of punk-pop band blink-182 is eager to make his debut behind the camera.
On Thursday morning, DeLonge unveiled the first trailer for the feature-length "Monsters of California," a sci-fi-tinged coming-of-age movie that marks his directorial debut. He had previously produced "Love," a 2011 sci-fi drama that featured a score by DeLonge's current band, Angels & Airwaves.
A Poway, California, native who co-leads the band Angels & Airwaves, the singer and guitarist co-wrote "Monsters of California's" semi-autobiographical screenplay with Ian Miller. The storyline focuses on DeLonge's passions for paranormal activity and skateboarding, accented by some of the teen high jinks that inspired a number of blink-182's songs.
The cast includes Tony Award-nominee Richard Kind, Emmy Award-nominee Arianne Zucker, Sports Illustrated model Camille Kostek and newcomers Jack Samson, Jared Scott and Jack Lancaster.
"Anyone who knows me, or follows me on social media, knows I'm no stranger to the paranormal, which is why directing 'Monsters of California' was a no-brainer," DeLonge said in a statement issued Thursday.
"The film takes my fascination with the unexplained, combines it with the skate culture I grew up a part of, and tosses in my ridiculous sense of humor that millions got to witness during my blink-182 days."
"Monsters of California" has been at least five years in the making, with at least one title change alone the way.
In 2017, DeLonge announced he would direct "Strange Times," a film about a group of rebellious group San Diego skateboarders investigating extreme paranormal activity. It was scheduled to be co-written with Ben Kull, his collaborator on the 2014 animated short film, "Poet Anderson: The Dream Walker," and to feature music by Angels & Airwaves, the San Diego band that teams DeLonge with multi-instrumentalist Ilan Rubin of Nine Inch Nails.
Asked in a 2017 San Diego Union-Tribune interview how autobiographical "Strange Times" would be, DeLonge replied: "That was my life — skateboarding and music! And, to this day, I wish I still skateboarded. I look at skateboards and wish I could (ride), but I'd break my (expletive) neck!
"The movie is about North County and San Diego, and most likely will be filmed here, on Highway 101 in Encinitas. Encinitas will be on the big screen! I It's a coming-of-age, Spielberg-meets-John-Hughes movie, but with a hard 'R' rating. It will be really funny, but scary, and touch on what it's like to grow up here."
"Strange Times" has now evolved into "Monsters of California" and features music written and performed by DeLonge. It is unclear if Rubin or Angels & Airwaves also contributed, and a spokesman for DeLonge told the Union-Tribune Wednesday that he did not know if DeLonge collaborated with anyone else on the new film's music.
Either way, "Monsters of California" provides DeLonge — who is currently seeking a distributor for the film — with a big-screen platform. His Thursday statement made clear he is eager to share some of his discoveries as the founder of To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science, the Encinitas company he launched in 2017 to explore the "outer edges of science" and UFOs in particular.
"In recent years," DeLonge said in his Thursday statement, "I've had the good fortune of helping the (U.S.) government remember how much they care about UFOs through the work we do at To The Stars, and it's that experience which helped inspire this movie.
"I can't wait for audiences to see the (expletive) up fun adventure these kids go on."