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Even before the original Pink Floyd album was recorded, a film was intended to be made from it. However, the concept of the film was intended to be live footage from the album's tour, with Scarfe's animation and extra scenes. The film was going to star Waters himself. Unfortunately, EMI did not intend to make the film, as they did not understand the concept.

Director Alan Parker, a fan of Pink Floyd, asked EMI whether The Wall could be adapted to film. EMI suggested that Parker talk to Waters, who asked Parker to direct the film. Parker instead suggested that he produce it and give the directing task to Scarfe and Michael Seresin, a cinematographer. Waters began work on the film's screenplay after studying scriptwriting books. He and Scarfe produced a special-edition book containing the screenplay and art to pitch the project to investors. While the book depicted Roger in the role of Pink, after screen tests, Roger was removed from the starring role and replaced with the edgy punk musician Bob Geldof.

Since Roger was no longer in the starring role, it no longer made sense for the feature to include Pink Floyd footage, so the live film aspect was dropped. Waters and Parker were not given much of a choice anyway, because the footage culled from the five Wall concerts that were held specifically for filming was deemed unusable.


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