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Released in 2013, Mistaken For Strangers followed Berninger’s brother Tom as he joined the band on the road and attempted to document their journey while also failing in his role as tour manager.
Having just signed a record contract for his debut solo album ‘Serpentine Prison‘, Berninger has now revealed that he’s been working on follow-up movie with Tom, alongside his regular ‘Social Distancing Distortion’ playlists and other projects with his wife and collaborator Carin Besser while in lockdown. Since the band released ‘I Am Easy To Find‘ in 2019, the frontman also worked on a musical adaption of Cyrano De Bergerac.
“The solo record was cooking for a long time and slowly done in between all these other things,” Berninger told NME. “There was Cyrano, the musical, plus my brother and I have been working on Mistaken For Strangers 2.”
He continued: “I just write and write and write. I used to build a song like a sculpture, now I just pour paint on the floor and swan around in it. I only really work on songwriting for like an hour or two a day, then I go and do other stuff. Mistaken For Strangers, the playlists, ‘I Am Easy To Find’, the stuff that me and Carin are cooking up – I love it and it’s all the same project to me.”
Berninger has also been working on an “episodic TV” comedy series with his brother and Besser for a number of years. Revealing that the show has been pitched to HBO and Netflix, Berninger also told NME that they were “starting from scratch” on the idea.
“I’ve been talking about it for about five or six years,” he said. “It’s going great. There are a couple of versions of the TV show that we took around and pitched and developed. One we backed away from a long time ago because it was HBO and it was starting to become an indie rock Girls. Tom and I had to figure out what the heart and tone of Mistaken For Strangers was and we didn’t want to make a half hour TV comedy on that level that HBO does.
“At one point about a year ago we were pitching a version of it to Netflix. In the lobby, there must have been about 17 or 18 people there to pitch. It was like all of people there with celebrities, all trying out for a part. There were so many people there that almost have a show. We’re not that close, but almost everyone else I know is.”
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Berninger added: “We’re writing it from scratch again now. The TV show, the movie and Mistaken For Strangers 2 have been a big, big part of what Tom, Carin and I have been cooking for a while. It’s been super slow, but also enlightening about how Hollywood works.”