'Nothing To Be Afraid Of'
Gavin Friday's Peter & The Wolf, an animated, modern retelling of Sergei Prokofiev's symphonic fairytale with visuals based on Bono's original illustrations, is now streaming on HBO Max in the United States.
In it, Gavin, U2's lifelong friend and longtime creative collaborator, reimagines the classic allegory about courage for 2023 sensibilities — no wolves, animated or otherwise, were harmed in the re-making of this folk tale. With spellbinding, punky illustrations and a heartwarming twist at the end, the film gently introduces themes of loss, growing up, and nature to help young (and not-so-young) viewers navigate complex issues and emotions around grief.
'Gavin's retelling of the classic Peter and the Wolf story is as original as he is,' said Bono, who makes an appearance as himself at the beginning and end of the film. 'Sometimes a story like this can sneak into your heart and never leave. To see some of my illustrations evolve in this reimagining is a thrill'.
Gavin, who wrote the beautiful words that make up this revival of Prokofiev's folk tale, also serves as narrator for the film, in which his inimitable warm-honey-growl of a voice is channeled through a character called 'The Fly'. (If you're picturing an animated fly sporting Bono's The Fly glasses, you would not be wrong.)
The film and accompanying new book and soundtrack, also just released, have their roots in a project from 20 years ago, when Gavin and Bono collaborated on box-set of the Prokofiev tale with illustrations by Bono and his daughters, and music performed by Gavin and Maurice Seezer's Friday-Seezer Ensemble.
The idea to create an animated film based on their 2003 Peter & The Wolf project came to Gavin and Bono during COVID lockdown. They began to think about how the 100-year-old folk tale originally set to music by a Ukrainian-born composer might speak to countless children (and adults) today who are coping with fear, danger, dying, and grief.
'To me, it's quite magical,' Gavin said in an interview with Clutch Points. 'It's actually making kids think outside of the box rather than in the box….Peter realizes that there's nothing really to be afraid of. It's all in your head, you know? That's really the sentiment.'
The 33-minute film produced by BMG and award-winning animation studio Blink Industries, premiered on HBO Max on October 19, with the hardback book for ages 7 + from DK/Penguin Random House, which publishes books that focus on the power of discovery and the natural world, released the same day.
The original soundtrack for Peter & The Wolf, also just out, includes the song, 'There's Nothing To Be Afraid Of' — written by Bono, Gavin, and Michael Heffernan and performed by Gavin — which reminds listeners that:
Love will make it a better day
Don't let fear get in its way…
Make fear your friend
There's nothing to be afraid of.
Gavin and the Friday-Seezer Ensemble recorded the original reinterpretation of Prokofiev's score in 2003, and Gavin recorded a brand-new narration for the film.
The soundtrack is available on double-heavy-weight black vinyl, half-speed remastered at Abbey Road Studios and includes two exclusive 12-inch Artcards. The remastered audio also is available on CD, presented in a reverse board, luxe paper sleeve with imagery from the film.
As they did in with the original project in 2003, funds raised from the new Peter & The Wolf project will support the Irish Hospice Foundation, which strives to ensure that every person can die and grieve well, whatever their age and wherever they may be.