Wayne Coyne Talks Rejecting Aaron Sorkin’s Flaming Lips Musical Idea

Written by on December 22, 2022

Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips has opened up about the time screenwriter Aaron Sorkin was briefly attached to a musical version of 2002’s Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots. Speaking to Yahoo, Coyne talked about how his and Sorkin’s visions didn’t exactly align, as the screenwriter wanted the “Pink Robots” to represent “the evil George Bush empire.” “The Aaron Sorkin part is… I mean, I don’t remember it all that precisely, but we did a meeting. We were in New York City — I think we were going to be on the David Letterman Show or something — and in the afternoon we were going to meet with some potential writers,” Coyne began.

He continued, noting how there was a strike on Broadway that day and the writers had “a lot on their minds”:

And here’s my little record, and they’re talking about what it could be! We were only allowed to meet for probably 20 minutes or something. You’ve got to remember, this is… not that long after the World Trade Center planes, the 9/11 stuff, all happened, and we were still dealing with George Bush Jr., who was the president.

[Sorkin] saw the “Pink Robots” as being the evil George Bush empire. And I really don’t know why I was so opinionated, but I just said, “Oh, I don’t really like that idea.” Not that I had a better idea, but I just didn’t see this music as being connected to politics and stuff, you know?

I mean, I felt like Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots is going to last forever, but George Bush will be gone in a couple of years, so who cares? But I think [Aaron] was like, “Oh, so you’re going to say no to my idea?” I mean, he wasn’t mean, there was nothing bad said, but I just got the feeling that he was like, “Well, that’s the way I see it. And if you don’t see it that way, see you later!”

The play, adapted by Tony-winning director Des McAnuff, first entered the conversation in 2007, five years after the release of Yoshimi. Later, McAnuff would state publicly that Sorkin had exited the project because the musical was going to be sung-through. The Yoshimi musical did eventually premiere at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego in 2012.

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