(December 3, 2014– Los Angeles, CA) – Lakeshore Records will release the SONG ONE – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, digitally and on CD January 13, 2015. The film features original songs performed by the film’s Johnny Flynn and written by Jenny Lewis (Rilo Kiley, The Postal Service, Jenny and Johnny) and Johnathan Rice (Jenny and Johnny).
“For years, I’ve wanted to capture the music that’s such a big part of the community fabric in my Brooklyn neighborhood and surroundings—Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Bushwick,” said the film’s writer/director Kate Barker-Froyland. “As I wrote the script for SONG ONE, I thought about shooting at the places where I like to listen to music—places like Pete’s Candy Store and Glasslands. I wanted to portray what it’s like to go to shows, to be absorbed in the performances with a crowd around you.”
Oscar® winner Anne Hathaway (INTERSTELLAR, LES MISERABLES) stars as Franny in SONG ONE, a romantic drama set against the backdrop of Brooklyn’s vibrant modern-folk music scene. After Franny’s musician brother Henry (Ben Rosenfield, BOARDWALK EMPIRE) is injured and hospitalized in a coma following a car accident, Franny returns home after a long estrangement and begins to use his notebook as a guide to how his life has evolved in her absence. Franny seeks out the musicians and artists Henry loved, in the course of her journey meeting James Forester (Johnny Flynn), his musical idol, whose success and fame belie a shy and private man. As a strong romantic connection develops between Franny and James, the question becomes if love can bloom even under the most adverse circumstances. The film also stars Oscar® winner Mary Steenburgen (THE HELP) and was produced by Jonathan Demme (RACHEL GETTING MARRIED, PHILADELPHIA).
The character of James Forester had, years earlier, released a first album to great acclaim, but now finds himself crippled by writer’s block after that early success. “The idea of a ‘song one’ encapsulates the nature of creating— the process of starting from scratch and starting over,” said Barker-Froyland. The duo of Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice, aka Jenny and Johnny, were brought in to write the original songs for the film.
“One of the reasons this project became so attractive to Jenny and I,” said Rice, “Is it allowed us an opportunity not to write about ourselves. We were writing for this other character, plumbing his depths. We often find as songwriters that we say in songs the things we can’t say in conversations and daily life; for instance, when James plays ‘Big Black Cadillac,’ in Henry’s hospital room, he’s essentially conveying the pain of his childhood to Franny without ever having to talk about it.”
“It’s an extremely personal song,” added Lewis, “And he puts himself on the line by playing that song in that room with Franny. That’s why music is such a conduit between people—a melody can be lovely and healing even if the story is very sad. It’s a brave choice of Kate’s, as a director, to dedicate whole scenes to just music-playing, to play through a whole song. Music’s doing all the talking in a lot of these scenes.”
Casting the role of James Forester to perform these songs was essential. “We made a vow: if we couldn’t find James Forester and we couldn’t pin down his sound, we weren’t going to make the film,” said the film’s producer and co-star Anne Hathaway. They found their leading man in Johnny Flynn who is both an actor (CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA, LOTUS EATERS) and singer (his latest album “Country Mile” has just been released).
“I read the script and was thinking, did they write this for me? It was a bit strange,” said Flynn. Like his film counterpart, Flynn is English, a rising folk-rock recording artist. “James plays in all the same places I play in New York. James retreats to the woods in Maine, just like I used to hole up in my beat-up old caravan. In the film, fans hold up signs saying ‘We Love You, JF!’ and, if I’m lucky, I get the same sort of signs when I play. It was a good fit to be exploring a role very much like myself.”
Filming took place over a fast-paced 26 days in NYC. “We shot all of James’s performance scenes in one very long day at the Bowery Ballroom, and the background crowd stayed right with him the whole time.” says Barker-Froyland.
Simultaneously Flynn worked in the studio recording with Lewis and Rice. “We were shooting five or six days a week, but on the weekends I was recording the soundtrack album in the studio with Jenny and Johnathan,” said Flynn. The result is an album that is an amazing souvenir of the film and a great standalone indie record!
01. Bulb Went Black – Johnny Flynn
02. Cumberland Gap – Felice Brothers
03. In April – Johnny Flynn
04. One Day – Sharon Van Etten
05. What Have You Done – Naomi Shelton & The Gospel Queens
06. Iris, Instilled – Johnny Flynn
07. I Need You – America
08. The Crystal Cat – Dan Deacon
09. Big Black Cadillac – Johnny Flynn
10. My Baby Just Cares For Me – Nina Simone
11. Little Yellow Dress – Johnny Flynn
12. O Leaozinho – Paul Whitty
13. Marble Song – Ben Rosenfield
14. Afraid Of Heights – Johnny Flynn & Anne Hathaway
15. Silver Song – Johnny Flynn
Cinedigm and The Film Arcade present SONG ONE in theaters and On Demand on January 23, 2015. The SONG ONE –Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, featuring original music by Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice, performed by Johnny Flynn, will be available digitally and on CD January 13, 2015.