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Lips’ ‘Christmas’ Fantasy Nearing Completion

The Flaming Lips are eyeing a spring roll-out for their long-in-the-making film project “Christmas on Mars.”

Frontman Wayne Coyne said that he’s hoping to premiere the movie at the South By Southwest film and music festivals next March in Austin, Texas, where he and the Lips have debuted other projects over the years. “It is coming,” Coyne promises. “In fact, it’s better than ever. Because it’s taken so long, we’ve become better filmmakers. There’s better computer effects. I think it will be much better.”

Coyne says the Lips are currently working on final editing and transferring the film into a High Definition format, adding “some in-depth special effects” in the process. Once it’s premiered, he envisions taking “Christmas on Mars” on a kind of “tour;” rather than simply showing it in theaters, Coyne wants to hold special screenings to give fans “a Flaming Lips experience of another kind.”

“I want the Flaming Lips audience to shape this,” Coyne explains. “It’ll be like our live show, which evolves as it goes. We’ll show it to the audience and let them talk out there on message boards, and then maybe we’ll take that and go back and change it and put it out there again and see what they think. It’ll be a different experience than sitting at home and watching a DVD, for sure. I don’t know if a lot of bands can do that, but the Flaming Lips sure can.”

Mostly, he’s looking forward to not having to answer questions about when the film is coming out. “At the five-year mark it already felt like it was absurd,” he says. “Now, even though it’s six years, we still say five. If we say six years, people will think we’re lying.

“But it has built a little bit of an urban legend about itself,” he continues. “I talk to people, strange as it may seem, who think they’ve already seen it ’cause we’ve been talking about it for so long. So that’s working.”

The Lips have also contributed music to the new Farrelly Brothers movie “The Heartbreak Kid” and have written and recorded the theme song for a new Disney cartoon that will be announced soon. And once “Christmas on Mars” is out, Coyne says the group will turn its attention to following up last year’s “At War With the Mystics.”

“I have ideas I think could spur a great new Flaming Lips concept and a new sound and things like that,” Coyne, says. “But I feel like we have to finish ‘Christmas on Mars’ before we jump into anything else. Hopefully we’ll be able to do that next year, though.”