Neil Young is going back to the big screen. Young will star in the upcoming western, Paradox. The film is directed by Neil Young’s longtime girlfriend, Daryl Hannah, and also stars Willie Nelson and his sons Micah Nelson and Lukas Nelson, as well as members of the backing band Promise of the Real. The Nelsons previously teamed up with Neil Young on the albums The Monsanto Years and The Visitor. Paradox will premiere at South By Southwest in March, according to Rolling Stone.
A synopsis for Paradox describes it as “a far-fetched, whimsical western tale of music and love,” set “somewhere in the future past.” The name of Neil Young’s character is not yet listed, but characters include The Man In the Black, Jail Time, the Particle Kid, and “an odd band of outlaws.”
Neil Young fan first got wind that something was up in the fall of 2016 when Neil performed a pair of shows in Telluride with the Promise of the Real. The band members were dressed in full retro Western attire for the Colorado shows, according to the Neil Young fan site Thrasher’s Wheat.
Paradox will mark Daryl Hannah’s debut as a director of a feature-length film as a director (she also wrote the script), while Neil Young’s history of filmmaking goes back to 1972’s Journey Through The Past. Young’s acting debut came in 1982 when he played Lionel switch/Frankie Fontaine in Human Highway, a movie he also directed. Young also made a cameo in the 1987 Adam Rudolph movie Made in Heaven, playing a truck driver. More recently, Neil appeared in the 2003 movie Greendale, a film he wrote and directed alongside his album of the same name.
Neil Young has an interesting history in the movies. Neil’s movie director/cameraman alter ego is Bernard Shakey. In 2008, Young told Timeout he always knew he wanted to do something other than music because he was afraid he would “burn out,” so his Shakey alter ego was born in the early 1970s.
Young revealed that Woodstock cameraman David Myers was his mentor as he churned out classics like the 1979 rock documentary Rust Never Sleeps. For Human Highway, Young admitted the film’s production was unconventional and that he didn’t even have a script for the improvised film.
While his role as a director is well known, Neil Young rarely acts in films that he doesn’t direct.
“I suppose I wouldn’t mind if I got a part I could do well,” Young once said of a potential return to acting. “I have friends who are doing projects which I may have a shot at.”
Check out Neil Young’s cool cameo in Made in Heaven below.