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Official website: Control
Synopsis: a feature about the late
Ian Curtis, the engimatic lead singer of legendary Engish post punk band Joy Division, spanning Curtis’ last several years leading up to his tragic suicide in 1980, and the struggle between his enduring love for his wife and his burgeoning relationship with his girlfriend, his decimating bouts with epilepsy, his incredible talent and all consuming performances with Joy Division

Executive producers: Becker International | EM Media | Warner Bros Music UK | Film I Vast | Cinema Investment Japan | Three Dogs and a Pony | Kate Ogborn
Anton Corbijn | Todd Eckert | Orian Williams
Deborah Curtis | Helena Danielsson | Peter Heslop | Tony Wilson
Anton Corbijn
Writer: Matt Greenhalgh
Book story (
Touching from a distance): Deborah Curtis
Image: Martin Ruhe
Music supervisor: Ian Neil
Sound: Peter Baldock
Set: Chris Richmond
Montage: Andrew Hulme
Casting: Shaheen Baig
Details: 119 minutes / 35mm / 1.66 / Black & White / Dolby SRD

Rough production timetable:
Screenplay: May 2005
Casting: 2006
Filming: started on Monday 10 July
–ended on Saturday 26 July 2006
Premiere: opening of the 
39th Directors' Fortnight 2007 (Thursday 17 May 2007 at Hilton Cannes, at 11am, 7pm and 10.15pm), Cannes Festival (France)
Press interview with
Anton Corbijn: Thursday 17 May 2007 at Parvis de la Malmaison, at 1.15pm)
Release date: Wednesday 26 September 2007

Sam Riley
will play Ian Curtis
Joe Anderson will play
Peter Hook
Harry Treadaway will play
Stephen Morris
James Anthony Pearson will play
Bernard Sumner
Samantha Morton will play
Deborah Curtis
Alexandra Maria Lara will play
Annik Honoré
Toby Kebbell will play
Rob Gretton
Craig Parkinson will play
Tony Wilson



Nos Journaal (Friday 18 August 2006): Anton Corbijn interview and footage from Control movie
Ion Cinema (Saturday 29 July 2006): review by Erik Lavallée
Give 'em hell, Pike! (Friday 14 July 2006): review by Frank Fisher


PRESS RELEASE (THURSDAY 17 MAY 2007) – in French

A propos de la conférence de presse de Control

Une foule compacte s'est pressée à la conférence de presse de Control, d'Anton Corbijn. La projection du film en fin de matinée a suscité un vif intérêt qui s'est ressenti à travers les questions posées
Le film d'
Anton Corbijn, librement adapté de Touching from a distance, la biographie de Ian Curtis par son épouse Deborah, est apparu comme le projet exigeant d'un artiste à la fois photographe, graphiste et vidéaste. C'était, dit Corbijn, l'occasion de s'essayer à quelque chose de différent. «Trying out different things in my life»
Au cours de la conférence,
Anton Corbijn a affirmé la tonalité personnelle du film, son refus de faire un film musical tourné vers le spectaculaire. A l'expression d'«icône» employée par un journaliste, il répond que le mot est «trop usé» et préfère mettre en avant l'Angleterre âpre qu'il découvre en débarquant de Hollande en 79. C'est le souvenir de ce groupe de rock «frissonnant dans le froid» qu'il convoque comme point d'origine de son film, la figure d'adolescent de Ian Curtis qu'il rencontre alors
C'est par cette volonté de retrouver la tonalité de ses souvenirs qu'il justifie le choix du noir et blanc à ceux qui l'interrogent. Et quand on lui demande ce qui a déterminé le choix de Sam Riley pour interpréter le rôle de
Ian Curtis c'est cette même silhouette frissonnante de rocker mal vêtu, «underdressed», qu'il évoque, disant que sa première rencontre avec Sam le lui aurait tout de suite rappelé
Enfin, aux questions portant sur la réception du film par l'entourage de
Ian Curtis, Anton Corbijn répond simplement qu'Annik Honoré et Deborah Curtis étaient en accord avec celui-ci et que, en ce qui concerne les membres de New Order (nom du groupe refondé après la disparition de Curtis), «si les membres du groupe s'accordent difficilement, ils ont unanimement aimé le film»





On Monday 10 July 2006 filming begins on CONTROL, Anton Corbijn's highly anticipated feature about the late Ian Curtis, the enigmatic lead singer of legendary English post punk band Joy Division
The cast includes Sam Riley (
Ian Curtis), Samantha Morton (Deborah Curtis), Alexandra Maria Lara (Annik Honoré), James Anthony Pearson (Bernard Sumner), Joe Anderson, (Hooky), Harry Treadaway (Stephen Morris), Toby Kebbell (Rob Gretton) and Craig Parkinson (Tony Wilson)
CONTROL spans the last few years of
Ian Curtis' life leading up to his tragic suicide in 1980. It charts the struggle between his enduring love for his wife and his burgeoning relationship with his girlfriend, his decimating bouts with epilepsy, his incredible talent and his all consuming performances with Joy Division
The film expands on
Deborah Curtis' book Touching from a distance, a personal account of her life with Ian Curtis. To achieve a fuller account of the man and his life, script writer Matt Greenhalgh spoke to those closest to Curtis including Annik Honoré, who was in a relationship with Ian Curtis at the time of his death. Previously, Annik had declined to discuss the relationship
Directed by
Anton Corbijn, CONTROL is produced by Orian Williams, Anton Corbijn and Todd Eckert under the production company NorthSee. The film is executive produced by Becker International, EM Media, Warner Bros Music UK, Film I Vast, Cinema Investment Japan in association with Three Dogs and a Pony and Kate Ogborn. Peter Heslop is co-producing alongside Ian Curtis' widow Debbie Curtis, Tony Wilson and Helena Danielsson from Hepp Films. CONTROL has a studio and production base in Nottingham, with location filming taking place in both Nottingham and Macclesfield
Anton Corbijn, a Joy Division fan on a mission, moved in late 1979 from Holland to the UK in order to photograph the band. The first photo he took of them, the famous tunnel shot, has since become their most iconic image. Corbijn is renowned as an award winning photographer and music video director. His photographs have graced the covers of hundreds of magazines and record covers. To date, he has published 11 books and made over 75 music videos for a vast array of musicians including Johnny Cash, Nirvana, U2, Depeche Mode, The Killers, Joni Mitchell, Coldplay and Nick Cave, as well as a short film on Captain Beefheart, "Some YoYo Stuff". In 1988 Corbijn directed the posthumous Joy Division video for Atmosphere
"If I only ever make one movie, CONTROL would have to be that. I simply feel that as Joy Division and
Ian Curtis played a big part in my life, I cannot think of a better combination of subject and director" Corbijn says
For Sam Riley the part of
Ian Curtis marks his first major film role. Despite many actors auditioning for the role, the director and producers felt Sam was the only one that immediately 'got' Ian. Samantha Morton, who will be playing Deborah Curtis, has appeared in a large number of films including Sweet & Lowdown, Minority Report, In America and Morvern Callar, she has been nominated for two Academy Awards. Morton originally trained at Carlton Junior TV Workshop in Nottingham. Alexandra Maria Lara (Annik Honoré) is a well known actress in Germany, she broke through internationally playing Hitler's secretary in Downfall. Alexandra will soon be seen in a leading role in Francis Ford Coppola's Youth Without Youth. Toby Kebbell (Rob Gretton) won critical praise for his brilliant portrayal of Anthony in Dead Man's Shoes. Harry Treadaway (Stephen Morris) will shortly be seen in his first leading role in Brothers of the Head. Tony Wilson will be played by Craig Parkinson. Craig has just finished filming Angels & Virgins and has also been in a number of British Television programmes. Control is the first feature film role for Joe Anderson (Hooky)
The soundtrack will feature original tracks recorded by Warsaw and Joy Division from the late 70's and 80's. Other Musicians already confirmed to take part in the soundtrack include David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Roxy Music, Lou Reed and the
Buzzcocks. New Order has also confirmed they will compose the score for the film
Producer Orian Williams says "I've always been a fan of
Anton's work and have forever associated him with the look and feel of Joy Division. It's impossible to overstate the influence of Joy Division's music. Bands like U2 and Nirvana have drawn upon their atmosphere and emotion for many years. Their mystery and the fact that no full video or film documentary footage currently exists to represent Joy Division, makes Control one of the most anticipated films of recent times"
The film will be released in the UK by Momentum Pictures. Becker International will handle international sales
For exclusive production diaries, updates and photos, please register at



Press conference held at Peel Suite, Radisson Edwardian
Transcript by Cerysmatic Factory
– Edited by

Todd Eckert: "We basically called the press conference because we wanted to introduce you to the principal people with the film. Anton found out last night that he would be our director. And we just can't imagine a better choice. His history with Joy Division is quite long term. In fact, it may be better if he explained to you how he became a resident of England in the first place."
Anton Corbijn: "Well, as you probably gathered by my accent, I am not from England. I am Dutch. And when I was 24, New Musical Express was like the bible in Holland and Paul Morley's writing about events a lot and I was thinking of leaving Holland anyway and the Joy Division record made the decision made quicker. So I moved in October 1979 to England to be close to where the news came from and actually within two weeks I'd managed to photograph Joy Division because my ideal and in a sense my move to England I always saw as my trip to Unknown Pleasures and now I've been here twenty-five years. So that's now twenty-five years ago. So I'm kind of circling round to be able to make a movie about good times for me and about Ian Curtis."

Todd Eckert: "Similarly it was very important to us that we have a local writer because the subject is so deeply a Manchester/Macclesfield story. So as the idea that anybody who was not from this area it would be impossible for them to really do it justice. Matt was recommended to us by a friend of Orian's and myself and we feel he's also the perfect choice just because of his understanding, not only of the subject matter, but just what it is to be from Manchester, to be from this region, and as we've never actually asked him, how do you feel about being the writer?"
Matt Greenhalgh: "Well, the obvious answer is very proud, because Ian is, for want of a better word, a god in this city. And to be actually undertaking to do a bio on him is probably every young Mancunian pop person's dream and I've been given that and I'm very very happy. But I must that you can read the book, and the book is actually very brilliantly written, and there's a lot to live up to. Deborah Curtis has fantastically worded and you get so many moments from the book that it's gonna be a real challenge putting that on the page. But I'm sure it's a challenge that I can live up to. There's a lot of people to please, a lot of people that know that scene inside out, the one at the end there [Tony Wilson], a few in New Order and obviously Deborah, that the book has to be to a certain to hit the right buttons. And I'm very aware of that so I'm looking forward to it, it's a challenge, and the guys in the middle you get a feeling from the film industry in Britain that it's best to have someone with an accent like theirs."

Todd Eckert: "I don't know if that's a universally shared point but I think clearly Deborah did make an astonishing book, as much for its honesty as for the fact that she did it in the first place. And, it's that sense of honesty that we're really bringing to the film. I think to her credit she has asked us to make the most honest film about Ian's life that we can. Which is another reason that besides Deborah being co-producer that we asked Tony to be another co-producer just because he is so much a heart and soul of the city and [to Tony Wilson], this is the first time we've announced that you're a co-producer on this isn't it. [Tony Wilson: "Yes!"] And it's gonna be a very hands on film I think for all of us. It is such an emotional film and it's just we really have one shot to get this right and we're going to do absolutely everything in our power to make sure that that happens. And it's really with this assembled crew that we think that we will be able to do so. Beyond that, any questions? Yeah, any concerns??"
Todd Eckert: "Casting will take place once Matt has finished the screenplay."

[Short break for photo]

Todd Eckert: "Truly Tony is a great part of the soul of Manchester then I think that Deborah is the soul of this film, because it really did start with the honesty of which she was capable and writing Touching from a distance in first place. If you've not read it it's astonishing and absolutely required reading."

Question: "Do you have a working title?"
Todd Eckert: "Well we've had 18 working titles so far, but actually Anton I think has struck upon something of genius."
Anton Corbijn: "Not being English I like simple, so I thought the word 'Control'."
Tony Wilson: "You have to remember that when Joy Division ceased there were 18 names for the new band that were to replace it, that became New Order, and for about four months the leading name was 'Happy Valley Dance Band', so you have to watch for names but 'Control' is fantastic."

Question: "What's the thinking behind that? Can you elaborate on 'Control'."
Anton Corbijn: "Well it's an obvious reference to the song She's lost control and also I think that Ian was somebody who wanted to control his life, his immediate surroundings and his destiny. And there was of course the other element of his life that he couldn't control, the epilepsy and the attacks I think are quite including aspects."
Tony Wilson: "Can I say that what's really peculiar having worked on the other film is the risk one takes because film people, movie people by and large when they touch our world of music fuck up. All music films invariably are shite, with the exception of ones that come from an askance point of view. So for example 'Easy Rider' or 'Performance' are great music films but as soon as someone famous tries to do music, however clever it is, something's always terribly wrong. And the miracle of the last one, 24 Hour, was that as someone said in City Life, can you imagine all the way that it could've gone wrong. And it didn't. So that was kind of a triumph that made it work and that is the challenge again and in some ways to me by involving Matt and by involving Anton I think Orian has gone a long way down the road to making sure that it's not the usual movie people fucking up music. It's so common and that's what happens so it's very nerve-wracking."
Todd Eckert: "Also I think Joy Division, the perception of the band is that were sort of the ultra-dark experience which is really sort of false or one-dimensional view of what Joy Division was. When the band existed it was quite anarchic, it was an electric experience so it's very important to us to capture what made them such a vital musical experience in the first place and I think that's gonna be a big part of what we try to achieve."

Question: "Can you talk us through the process of you coming together as a group. Tony, were you involved at the inception here?"
Tony Wilson: "I don't know whether Todd minds this but we probably should mention this as a news story, the background and the background is that Double Eight Films, a New York film company three years ago approached Debbie and optioned the book to make this film. This was shortly after '24 Hour' had gone into production. And Double Eight Films are most famous for the Ethan Hawke 'Hamlet' and at some point, and you'll have to ask Debbie about this, it all went wrong about a year ago. They did not take up the option and [it all] fell apart. Just as it was falling apart Dave decided to appoint their line producer who was the mannequin working in London who was a close personal friend of mine. And he was so pleased because he loves Manchester, he produced the King Lear in Liverpool for Sky Movies about a year ago, starring was it Richard Harris? So this guy Neil [Weisman] was doing the film and his line producer was terribly pleased and he suddenly discovered that the movie he was working on as line producer no longer existed. Double Eight Films no longer existed, the option no longer existed and someone else was doing it. Neil is an excitable chap [and at Cannes Film Festival which he goes to every year] he decided fuck it I still wanna make this film and rang me up to say, to ask my advice, could he make the film without the band's permission and I said well I'm not sure, it would depend on the DMGs on the publishing contract, but it's pretty pointless. Then, at the beginning of the summer I had a conversation with Debbie, Todd and Orian. I said to Neil you need to apologise to Debbie for the trouble you've caused and say if these other people fall through I would love to help you. So, instead of doing that, Neil being a complete bloody tosser, kept making trouble and said 'I wanna make the film, I wanna make the film' with no permission, blah blah blah, and the last I heard, when I got back from my South American trip in November [2004], I had a message from Neil saying please ring me. I rang Neil because he's my friend and he said I want to ask your advice about this. I said Neil, I'm working with Debbie and with Todd, I'm not with you and you really are behaving like a tosser and, er, he put the phone down. That is the last I talked to Neil and that is the last we've heard from Neil."
Todd Eckert: "Yesterday, through, shall we say, some of the rights that are necessary to make this film, we found out that it would be logistically impossible for him to do something."
Tony Wilson: "Yes it is and I told him that. So anyway that's out of the way. It caused a fuss. It was quite interesting."

Question: "So you guys know each other?"
Tony Wilson: "Yes, I was introduced about four or five months ago by Debbie and Natalie."
Todd Eckert: "Orian and I have known each other about twenty years and originally the idea to put together the film was his. In the process of getting to know Debbie and Natalie it was really an 8-month process. Basically I think Debbie was deciding whether or not she trusted us. I guess to some degree, because of her earlier experience, but I think much more because she recognises that that the film about Ian's life is really the artefact, it's the document through which people will know Ian and his life and for a generation coming up now Joy Division is sort of an insanely relevant band but they don't necessarilty know the history. So you basically have one shot to do this right so naturally she was distrustful of anybody trying to make the film and certainly a couple of Americans. So, through an 8-month period of discussions I guess she came to the conclusion that hearts were not only in the right place but that I guess we had the financial wherewithal to actually make the damn thing."
Orian Williams: "I met
Anton about three years ago, well two and a half years ago and always had an idea that he should be directing movies or involved in them because of that inspiration of his but never the right, I guess, project came along. And it was about a year ago we were sitting having lunch in Los Angeles and we started going through the story of how he made this pilgrimage to London to take photographs of Joy Division. By the end of the lunch we had decided that he was pretty much the only guy who could direct the film. He was there, his sensitivity to the visual side of the entire story as well as the narrative and we talked about it for a long time."
Todd Eckert: "I mean so much of the film has a certain fortuity really, you know, just in meeting with directors and writers, and I think, well, the first and most fortuitous bit was finding Matt, simply because finding the right person you need to put this film together, actually write it down, was excruciatingly difficult. And we had met with several writers and he sent us, I guess, 'Burn It' and a couple of other screenplays and we read them and was it three days later? No, it was actually funny because Orian and I had been here in Manchester, working with Tony and Debbie, and I literally had to, after we read all of this stuff, come back again four days later. All the way to Manchester so we could offer him the film."
Tony Wilson: "Joy Division were not a Manchester band. They were actually half Salford, half Macclesfield. Not Manchester. Manchester takes all the fucking credit and is basically a shithole. It's all about Salford and Macclesfield."
Todd Eckert: "And, er, that's exactly how we feel too!"

Question: "Do you have a working timetable, casting actors, starting shooting, that sort of thing?"
Todd Eckert: "We do. We anticipate that Matt will be done with the screenplay by this weekend [loud laughs]. We anticipate February [2005] that he will be done with the screenplay."
Tony Wilson: "What!? You're kidding."
Matt Greenhalgh: "Well, a first draft."
Todd Eckert: "We're not anticipating that we're actually going to need a second draft. We'll cast up in April [2005]. We will finance the film at Cannes in May [2005] and probably be in some sort of pre-production by July [2005]. So I guess by July [2005] you will see Orian and myself on the streets far more frequently because we will be living here."

Question: [inaudible, about casting]
Todd Eckert: "We have some very specific ideas, none of which we can reveal. Sorry. We're actually in dialogue with several actors. Actors that you know. As it turns out, we're not necessarily in dialogue with their agents. So it would be financially disastrous for us to reveal anyone's name. I'm sorry."

Question: "Does the Manchester involvement stretch to who might play Ian?"
Todd Eckert: "Well I mean the ultimate litmus test is really Debbie, Anton, Tony and all the people that knew him. We've had some actors in mind and they were struck down because Debbie said no, it doesn't work. So, you know, clearly it's going to have to be someone who is more or less capable of channelling Ian. And again we've actually, well it's turned out to be a universally open field as far as what actors are available. You would be shocked as to the prevalence of Joy Division within the acting community. Absolutely everyone in the world seems to want to have a role in this film. So, we haven't spoken to anyone who has said they're not interested."

Question: "Is there a likelihood that a Briton or a Mancunian might play this role?"
Anton Corbijn: "Or a Dutch actor!?"
Todd Eckert: "Well I mean our first choice was Anton but he said that I'd rather direct! We would love it to be a local actor. Whether that will take place or not I don't know. I think it's, er, I'm not going to say anything else. I'll get in trouble!"

Question: "How difficult will it be to shoot the film?"
Tony Wilson: "Well consider we're talking about 19781981 and considering how big the Hacienda was and how incredible the job of recreation was, although for 24 Hour it did mean that they did a shitty job on our offices. They put all the effort into the Hacienda and none into the office. They need to recreate, maybe, the room that was on this space here. Which in fact was in fact was still in existence for 24 Hour, which is the Lesser Free Trade Hall, which is, partially, where it all began. Those are not difficult to recreate. It is just quite easy."
Todd Eckert: "With the exception of some second unit location stuff, you know London maybe when they were recording Closer and what have you."
Tony Wilson: "What about some of the trips abroad, in the Sherpa vans that they used to have to drive?"
Todd Eckert: "There will be a bit of that but it will be predominantly shot here. Again, in fact we were talking about it last night, with the exception of ourselves there probably won't be any other Americans involved on the film at all."

Question [to Matt Greenhalgh]: "Have you already got ideas for the soundtrack?"
Matt Greenhalgh: "Not on this one at all. No I mean really on this one it's all in the foreground in the film but as far the script's concerned I've got to really stick with the drama. You know, the music and the drama will mix and it's inevitable in a rock bio but at the moment it's definitely stick to the book and stick to the drama moments, get them on paper first and probably lay the tracks on, and I'm sure Anton will have a say in what he wants as well, of where and when.
Todd Eckert: "We should probably also mention that besides the soundtrack of original Joy Division music and incidental music there will be another soundtrack of bands covering Joy Division. So we didn't want this to be a perfunctory thing 'while we're doing a movie about Ian Curtis and Joy Division so we might as well do a cover album', as it would be insanely cheesy. So what we're doing is, giving bands a song and giving them three days to record it. And that's it. Because we want to recreate the urgency of how the music was recorded in the first place. And similarly we've found so far that they're aren't any bands that aren't interested in doing it. So that's actually fairly exciting part of the project as well."
Tony Wilson: "One more little story because this is my one input here so har has been because Moby is one of the great supporters of Joy Division and whatever else, because Moby wanted to be involved, and was involved in the other film, he was regarded as a pariah by Todd and Orian. Which isn't very fair. And I objected to that. I felt that of all the great rock 'n' roll stars in the world, the person who has most consistently adored, loved, and championed Joy Division, is in fact Mr Moby and one of the finest moments in my life, one of the most exhilarating moments was going out on a very hot Los Angeles evening, up into the hills above Byron Boulevard to the Universal Theatre with my partner, going to watch 'Heat' the De Niro whatever movie and sitting there, enjoying this wonderful movie and suddenly, halfway through, De Niro gets in the car and some music comes booming out of the thing and it's so impressive and I went 'My god! This is one of my songs. Fucking hell!!' And it's one of the most exhilarating moments of my life and many years later it was suggested by Mr Kruschetti, Mr Corgan and Moby who found they were playing with New Order that they do the same song, New dawn fades, in a concert, to which the members of Joy Division on stage said, 'Yeah, alright. How does it go?' and had to be guided through New dawn fades by Kruschetti, Corgan and Moby. Anyway, Orian and Todd were very nice about it. They said fine. You like Moby, you like Moby's support for Joy Division, we can get him back on board if you want. And I talked to his manager last night. That makes a change for me from working on 24 Hour Party People, because anything I complained about and wanted changed on 24 Hour Party People, I got told to fuck off! This time I'm having a much better experience."
Todd Eckert: "Again, not to seem too idiotic about it we do feel insanely lucky to have this assembled group of people at the very beginning of this process. And I just can't imagine a better way to be making this film."
Tony Wilson: "And again, this is one of my personal pieces of revenge of Rob because, having Anton do this film, many years ago, in the late Eighties, I was desperate to bring out Atmosphere again, and we had to do a video and it occurred to me that if we did a Joy Division video which was nine years later we would have to use photographs. And there were only two sets of photographs, the Cummins photographs and the Corbijn photographs, and because Kevin is a miserable fucking City supporting wanker I couldn't bear to have to deal with Kevin and I love Anton very much, I asked Anton to do the video. And Rob told me that that the he hated it and the group hated it, that it was fucking shite, sanctimonious bollocks, and that he hated the whole fucking thing. And for twelve years I laboured under the apprehension that I had done a very bad job here even though to me having Anton, someone who took the photographs use his own work, having honesty about it, and it was only one year ago I found out that only Rob hated it and the rest of the group fucking loved the Atmosphere video. So there you are."
Voice in assembled throng: "I liked it."
Tony Wilson: "You loved it. There you are, everyone loved it except fucking Rob."
Todd Eckert: "Interestingly enough, Ian was a City fan and I'm pretty sure Matt's already been in the City magazine, so we may have sort of a football..."
Tony Wilson: "Debbie, was he a City fan?"
Deborah Curtis: "Yes!"
Tony Wilson: "To be fair to Mr Gretton and Mr Pickering, Mr Pickering famous for apparently writing lots of great pop songs for M-People, the greatest song they ever covered was a song called 'Swales Out' which they chanted every other match."

Question [to Deborah Curtis]: "This must be quite an emotional moment, finally reaching the stage when you can look forward. Or is it?"
Deborah Curtis: "It's very exciting after all these years. The film thing's been going on for a long time. There was a time when I thought that it was better not to do it at all - but we've found the right people now."

Todd Eckert: "Well thank you all so much for coming. You'll be seeing a lot of us."