"It's strong, dark, steamy jungle stuff," musician Stewart Copeland says of the Francis Ford Coppola film he saw recently. But Copeland, drummer for the rock band the Police, isn't talking about "Apocalypse Now," Coppola's most obvious steamy jungle movie. Rather, he's talking about the rough cut he's seen of "Rumblefish," a movie that figures to be far more domestic, since it's about teen-agers growing up in Oklahoma. The film is the second of two movies Coppola shot on the same Tulsa location, and like the first, "The Outsiders" -- and also like Disney's "Tex" -- it is based on a novel by S.E. Hinton. (All three films star Hinton fan Matt Dillon). But Copeland, who is currently recording music for the film, swears that just because the movie is taken from a book written for teen-agers doesn't mean that Coppola has made a traditional kids' movie. "It's not condescending, it's certainly not bubblegum and it's not like any other kids' movie I've seen."
As for working with Coppola, Copeland claims he found the experience far less trying than he'd been led to believe. "Every time I tell somebody I'm working with Francis, they always say, 'Isn't he weird?' " Copeland laughs. "I have to tell them that no, he's not weird -- in fact, I thought he was inspiring to work with. He's like a magnet for talent." Copeland heard his share of Coppola horror stories going into the project, and expected to encounter a few peculiarities. "Yeah, I'd heard about how crazy he can be," he says. "But I never saw any aberrations. I don't know where those stories come from."
Copeland isn't the only member of his band who's been involved in the film business lately; while the group's lead singer, Sting, has already appeared in bit parts in two films -- "Quadrophenia" and "Radio On" -- in November he will make his American debut in the starring role in "Brimstone." Titled "Brimstone and Treacle" in England, where it was made, the film was written by "Pennies From Heaven" author Dennis Potter, and boasts some of that film's acid mixture of darkness and unexpected light. Sting plays a devious, evil young man who ingratiates himself into a household and then does unspeakable things, all the while dropping hints that he might be the Devil or something along those lines. Since the film's completion, the actor/singer has left his wife, assaulted a photographer and, he admits, lost himself. These days, he says, the public Sting is "a monster." But while he tries to straighten out his persona, Sting is also shopping around with the screenplay he's written.