End Credits #66: Cinema's 2017 Lost Treasures Jonathan Demme
Jonathan Demme (February 22, 1944 - April 26, 2017) the considerably talented and gifted filmmaker has died at age 73.
Guest contributor Bob DiMucci has provided this tribute to his motion picture career:
The Films of Jonathan Demme
Jonathan Demme started out in feature films working for Roger Corman, as the producer and co-writer of the 1971 motorcycle gang film ANGELS HARD AS THEY COME. Demme had previously worked as a publicity man. He and writer Joe Viola showed their script to Roger Corman, the head of New World Pictures, who then recruited them to produce and direct the picture. Viola directed the film. Richard Hieronymos provided the unreleased score.
Demme and Joe Viola teamed up again for the 1972 woman's prison picture THE HOT BOX. Demme produced, and Viola directed their script. Restie Umali provided the unreleased score for this exploitation film.
In 1973's FLY ME, stewardesses battle kung fu killers. Although the onscreen credits state that the kung fu sequences were directed by David Chow, the Los Angeles Times' reviews reported that Chow staged those sequences under the direction of Jonathan Demme. Cirio Santiago was the overall director of the film, which had no credited score.
Demme and Joe Viola provided the original story for the 1973 convicts-on-the-run film BLACK MAMA, WHITE MAMA. The film was very loosely inspired by the 1958 United Artists release THE DEFIANT ONES, directed by Stanley Kramer. That film featured Sidney Poitier and Tony Curtis as chain gang escapees who are shackled together. Eddie Romero directed this new, female take on the subject. Harry Betts' score was released on a 2001 CD from Beyond Music.
Another women's prison film, CAGED HEAT, was Jonathan Demme’s first theatrical feature film as director. He also wrote the script for the 1974 film. Producer Evelyn Purcell was Demme’s wife at the time of production. Reportedly, John Cale composed his score in three hours. It remains unreleased.
Reviewers praised the film’s feminist take on the prison exploitation genre, and commended Demme’s direction, as well as Tak Fujimoto’s photography and Cale’s score. Demme was later named by Kevin Thomas in a 21 December 1975 Los Angeles Times article as one of “9 Directors Rising from the Trashes,” along with George Armitage, Paul Bartel, Steve Carver, Richard Compton, Jonathan Kaplan, Mark Lester, Noel Nosseck, and Michael Scultz. Thomas stated that, because the studio system was no longer producing many “B” films, talented young filmmakers were increasingly turning to “exploitation pictures” as a way to begin their careers.
Bill Paxton's first film appearance was in a bit part in the 1975 Jonathan Demme exploitationer CRAZY MAMA. The film also happened to be Dennis Quaid's film debut as well. Demme replaced Shirley Clarke as director after Clarke spent roughly one month working on the film during preproduction. Demme stated that Clarke was fired ten days before shooting began. At the time, he was preparing to direct FIGHTING MAD (1976); however, New World Pictures’ founder Roger Corman called to inform Demme that he would direct CRAZY MAMA instead and was needed in casting sessions immediately. Demme agreed on condition that his wife, Evelyn Purcell, direct the second unit. Demme also stated that he changed the ending of the film, which originally involved “a total bloodbath with everybody getting killed.”
Reviews of the film were largely negative, although the Los Angeles Times' Kevin Thomas praised Demme’s direction and predicted that the director would “graduate to worthier assignments.” The film had an unreleased song score.
Writer-director Demme based the screenplay for FIGHTING MAD on actual news stories about "unsolved acts of sabotage" against mining companies, "presumably by outraged farmers." The opening montage of scenes featuring Peter Fonda and Gino Franco driving home to Arkansas was shot by Tak Fujimoto, who was originally Jonathan Demme's choice of cinematographer, as they had worked together on a couple other films prior to this. But because this was a union picture, Fujimoto got caught by the union teamsters and was sent packing back home to California. Although Fujimoto's footage was used in the film, Michael Watkins is the only credited cinematographer.
To give film editor Anthony Magro some relief from the film's tight deadlines, Demme actually edited the entire climatic sequence of the picture. Star Peter Fonda insisted that Bruce Langhorne compose the music for the movie. Langhorne had scored Fonda's directorial debut, 1971's THE HIRED HAND. The score has not had a release.
CITIZENS BAND was a critically acclaimed box office dud from 1977. This Jonathan Demme film is about how the citizens band radio craze of the 1970s affected the lives of all of the characters in the film. It was Demme’s first film not connected with Roger Corman. While the film is worthwhile, its early Bill Conti score is less so. It's sparingly used and doesn't seem to have the melodies that I usually associate with Conti. The score has not had a release.
CITIZENS BAND opened on 18 May 1977 in 200 theaters in thirty cities (not including New York). It was quickly pulled from venues when it failed to draw audiences. Paramount retitled the film HANDLE WITH CARE, and it was selected to screen at the New York Film Festival on 30 September 1977. Paramount planned to then open the film in New York City at the Little Carnegie, a Manhattan art-house theater. But Daily Variety reported that the four-week engagement at the Little Carnegie was “disastrous.” In November 1977, Paramount then took the unusual measure of booking the film into two New York City theaters for five days of free screenings. But nothing could stir interest in the film.
CITIZENS BAND finally got a videotape release in 1998, in the waning days of VHS, and is available as a download, but has never been on DVD. Like Paramount's barely seen WHITE DOG, it might make a good Criterion release.
LAST EMBRACE was a 1979 thriller in which a CIA agent (Roy Scheider), who has seen his wife assassinated, believes that he is to be next. The project originated with producers Michael Taylor and Dan Wigutow, executives at United Artists, when they decided to buy the screen rights to a recent novel by journalist Murray Teigh Bloom, titled The 13th Man (1977). The rights sold for $90,000. Once the producers optioned the property, they left United Artists and formed their own production company, designating LAST EMBRACE as the inaugural project.
After a year of working on the screenplay with writer David Shaber, the producers approached Jonathan Demme to direct based on his previous films, particularly, CITIZENS BAND, which had received enthusiastic reviews. Roy Scheider was always the top choice to play “Harry Hannan,” and the producers viewed the project as a chance to introduce Scheider as a vulnerable romantic lead. Janet Margolin won the role of “Ellie Fabian” after auditions that included nearly 100 other actresses.
With Tak Fujimoto as cinematographer, the filmmakers began principal photography in New York City during June 1978. Locations included Central Park, Grand Central Station, the Museum of Natural History, Macy’s department store and the Lower East Side. The filmmakers shot sequences on Amtrak’s "Rainbow" line during the eight-hour train journey to Niagara Falls, occupying three passenger cars.
Location filming at Niagara Falls, on the border between the U.S. and Canada, was scheduled for nine days. Because of complications in obtaining approval from two countries, the production started the permit process during the scriptwriting phase. Canadian authorities restricted the film crew to the hours of 3:00am to 8:30am in the tunnels around the Falls, and the location work unfortunately coincided with the busy tourist season, creating an excess of onlookers around the crew and in front of the camera. To keep the mist of the Falls from coating the camera lens, a “spray deflector” was required.
The mixed reviews for the film generally described LAST EMBRACE as either an unimaginative imitation of Alfred Hitchcock’s work or a worthy tribute to the director. The 2 May 1979 Variety review highlighted specific Hitchcockian moments in the film that referred to scenes from FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (1940) and PSYCHO (1960). However, in a 13 May 1979New York Times article, Demme claimed that the film contained no homages.
Miklos Rozsa's score for the film was most recently released by Intrada in 2009.
MELVIN AND HOWARD was the real-life story of hard-luck Melvin E. Dummar (Paul Le Mat), who claimed to have received a will naming him an heir to the fortune of Howard Hughes. Mike Nichols was originally hired to direct the 1980 picture. However, Nichols left the project due to other commitments, and the fact that actor Jack Nicholson, his choice for the role of “Melvin,” would not be realized. New director Jonathan Demme hired actress Diane Keaton to play Dummar's first wife "Lynda," but she withdrew from the project. Mary Steenburgen eventually got the role.
Demme aimed for the greatest degree of verisimilitude in his use of locations, props and courtroom dialogue. He used the actual courtroom, gas station, and a Polynesian restaurant in La Habra, CA, where events took place. The presiding judge in the court case was a background actor in the courtroom scene in which the actual “Mormon will” was used, and much dialogue in the scene was taken from court transcripts. Although Dummar did not say that Hughes sang in the car during their travels, Demme used two songs written by Dummar to embellish the story, and gave him a cameo role as a lunch counter waiter at a bus station.
Two pieces of improvisation came about when Demme had to deviate from the truth. To recreate second-wife Bonnie Dummar’s appearance on the game show, "Let’s Make A Deal", the filmmaker approached the show’s master of ceremonies, Monty Hall. When it came time to shoot the sequence, Hall’s lawyers protested the use of the show’s name, so a new game show titled "Easy Street" was invented and used instead. In another sequence in which Dummar holds a press conference, the questions were spontaneous, and Paul Le Mat’s answers were improvised, according to Demme. Bruce Langhorne scored the film. The score has not had a release.
The National Board of Review of Motion Pictures included MELVIN AND HOWARD as Number Five in its list of “top English language films.” The film was named the National Society of Film Critics’ best picture of the year. The society also awarded the film best supporting actress (Mary Steenburgen), and best screenplay (Bo Goldman).
The film received two Academy Awards: Actress in a Supporting Role (Mary Steenburgen) and Writing (Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen). The film also received a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Mary Steenburgen). Other Golden Globe nominations included: Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture–Comedy or Musical (Paul Le Mat), Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Jason Robards), and Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical.
In 1984's SWING SHIFT, a woman (Goldie Hawn) finds romance with a factory foreman (Kurt Russell) when she takes a job at an aircraft plant to help make ends meet after her husband (Ed Harris) goes off to war. The film was originally written as a dramatic vehicle of Jane Fonda. When her agent turned it down and Goldie Hawn replaced her, the script was partially re-written as a comedy. Kevin Costner was the first choice for the role of the foreman, but was unavailable when shooting began. As it happened, Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell fell in love and moved in together after working on this project.
Director Jonathan Demme wore period clothes on the set to help set the mood for the actors in the World War II story. The film reportedly went through a major bout of editing. Some say this was due to the tensions between Hawn (whose company co-produced the film) and Demme. Some industry insiders reported that many of co-star Christine Lahti's scenes were re-shot or cut entirely, due to Hawn's belief that Lahti was stealing scenes, though she and Hawn apparently got along well during filming. The score by Patrick Williams has not had a release.
STOP MAKING SENSE was an innovative concert movie that Demme directed for the rock group The Talking Heads. Demme culled the footage from several different shows. In order to minimize the amount of cameras in the frame, one show was all shot from one side of the stage, the next night was shot from the other side. Demme wanted to shoot additional performance footage on a sound stage made to recreate the Pantages Theater. The band vetoed this idea because they thought the lack of audience response would have hindered the energy of their performance.
Talking to Rolling Stone last year, Demme was asked what the secret was to making a great concert film. Ever modest, he gave the credit to his performers. "It comes down to two things," he said. "Whoever's doing the work of making the music, they have to have a cinematic quality. … I wouldn't say showmanship, exactly, but that the people creating the music are interesting characters. And second, that their experience makes for an interesting, if only interior, journey for us to watch."
The movie is notable for being the first made entirely using digital audio techniques It was Demme's first film released in stereo. An expanded CD of the Sire Records soundtrack was released in 1999.
In the 1986 romantic crime comedy SOMETHING WILD, a free-spirited woman (Melanie Griffith) "kidnaps" a yuppie (Jeff Daniels) for a weekend of adventure. But the fun quickly takes a dangerous turn when her ex-convict husband (Ray Liotta) shows up. The script found its way into the hands of Demme while screenwriter E. Max Frye was still in film school. Demme committed to it within 24 hours of reading it. When the script was then submitted to Orion Pictures, the producers asked the studio to give them an answer quickly. They felt that since the budget was so low, if the answer was no, they could take it to another studio. The studio agreed to produce it in less than a week.
John Cale and Laurie Anderson collaborated on the film's score, but none of their music made it onto the MCA song-track CD release.
SWIMMING TO CAMBODIA is a plunge into the mind of Spalding Gray, who tells you -- seated at his desk with his writing pad, glass of water and roll-down map -- about his travails and ecstasies as a bit player in Roland Joffe's film THE KILLING FIELDS (1984) and the background story about the troubles of Cambodia. Director Jonathan Demme preserved the live feel of Gray's one-man stage show (recorded over three consecutive days before a New York audience) with three simultaneously running cameras. He kept things visually active by intercutting among the cameras, theatrical use of lighting, and by cutting to Gray's actual scenes in THE KILLING FIELDS. Laurie Anderson added a dramatic undercurrent to the film with her punchy, contemporary score.
In MARRIED TO THE MOB, an undercover FBI agent (Matthew Modine) falls in love with a recently widowed mafia wife (Michelle Pfeiffer), who is trying to restart her life following her husband's murder, while being pursued by a libidinous mafia kingpin (Dean Stockwell) seeking to claim her for himself. So many scenes didn't make it into the final cut of the movie that Jonathan Demme decided to place them at the end during the credits, to retell the story. David Byrne scored the 1988 film, but none of his music made onto the song-track CD issued by Reprise Records.
Jonathan Demme's most famous film is undoubtedly THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. This 1991 psychological thriller finds a young F.B.I. cadet (Jodie Foster) confiding in an incarcerated and manipulative killer (Anthony Hopkins) to receive his help on catching another serial killer who skins his victims. D emme signed on as director after reading the novel. Sean Connery was Demme's first choice to play "Dr. Hannibal Lecter," but he turned the part down. When Anthony Hopkins found out that he was cast as Lecter based on his performance as "Dr. Frederick Treves" in THE ELEPHANT MAN (1980) he questioned Demme and said "But Dr. Treves was a good man." To which Demme replied "So is Lecter; he is a good man too. Just trapped in an insane mind."
When Ted Tally was writing the screenplay for the film, he suggested Jodie Foster for the role of "Clarice Starling." Foster had been lobbying hard for the part, but when Demme was hired to direct, he wanted Michelle Pfeiffer instead. According Demme, there were 300 applicants for the role. Meg Ryan and Michelle Pfeiffer turned the role down because of the disturbing subject matter. Brooke Smith (who ended up playing "Catherine Martin") and Nicole Kidman both read for the part. A then-unknown Halle Berry actively pursued the role but never got the chance to audition, later complaining in a 1995 New York Times article that producers would not consider her because of her race. Demme was convinced that Foster would be perfect for Starling when he saw her purposefully walk down a corridor to meet him. He liked her air of determination.
Jodie Foster, Jonathan Demme, Scott Glenn, and a few other cast and crew members did a great deal of research at the FBI training facility in Quantico, Virginia. They studied under criminal profiling agents, learned about firearms and agent training, and sat in on a number of classes. As a result of their visit, Demme decided to film at Quantico itself, even though the facility had always closed its doors to film crews. Visiting Quantico for the first time, production designer Kristi Zea was struck by how boring and prosaic the location was. She expressed her concern to Demme, who replied that he wanted the place to look as mundane as possible.
The idea to use glass in Lecter's Baltimore cell as opposed to traditional bars came from production designer Zea. The idea came about because Demme was unhappy shooting the Lecter scenes through bars, as he felt they negated the sense of intimacy between Lecter and Starling that he was trying to achieve. When characters are talking to Starling, they often talk directly to the camera. When she is talking to them, she is always looking slightly off-camera. Demme explained that this was done so that the audience would directly experience HER point of view, but not the others', hence encouraging the audience to more readily identify with her.
When Clarice visits Lecter in his new facility, Lecter insists she continue telling him about her childhood as part of the agreement. Jodie Foster, reluctantly, continues her story about running away. Midway through her confessions, she mentions taking a lamb with her. If one listens closely after she says, "I thought if I could save just one..." a distant sound of something being dropped can be heard in the background. A crewman dropped a wrench during filming. Demme panicked, thinking it would ruin the scene completely. However, Foster remained in character and continued the story, ultimately convincing Demme to keep the footage. After "Cut" was said, Foster turned her head to the crew and yelled, "What the Hell was that!?"
The filmmakers were prepared to go to Montana to shoot a flashback sequence depicting Clarice's runaway attempt. However, after filming the dialogue between Foster and Hopkins, Demme realized it would be pointless to cut away from their performances and announced, "I guess we aren't going to Montana."
THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS won five Academy Awards: Best Actor for Anthony Hopkins; Best Actress for Jodie Foster; Best Screenplay for Ted Tally; Best Director for Jonathan Demme; and Best Picture. Howard Shore's score was released by MCA.
Demme had another critical and popular hit with the 1993 film PHILADELPHIA. The drama starred Tom Hanks as a man with HIV who is fired by his law firm because of his condition. He hires a homophobic small time lawyer, "Joe Miller" (Denzel Washington), as the only willing advocate for a wrongful dismissal suit. Demme stated that he was moved to direct the film after a friend of his, the illustrator Juan Suárez Botas, was diagnosed with AIDS.
Originally, Demme was going to cast a comedic actor in the role of Joe Miller as he felt it would be a good counterbalance for Tom Hanks who had already been cast, and to give an audience the "okay" to watch a film about a gay man dying of AIDS. Demme had considered casting either Bill Murray, or Robin Williams. But when Denzel Washington showed interest in the part, he gave the role to him instead, because Demme had wanted to work with Washington for a number of years.
Demme had to convince TriStar Pictures to hire actor Ron Vawter to play "Bob Seidman." TriStar wanted Demme to hire someone else because Vawter was HIV-positive, and the insurance company covering the film refused to extend coverage to him. Demme managed to convince TriStar to allow the hiring of Vawter anyway, both because Vawter was the actor that Demme wanted, and because refusing to hire an actor because of his HIV-positive status would have been particularly ironic in the context of a movie that is premised on the injustice of a lawyer being fired because he is HIV-positive.
Demme wanted people not familiar with AIDS to see his film. He felt Bruce Springsteen would bring an audience that would not ordinarily see a movie about a gay man dying of AIDS. The movie and Springsteen's song, "The Streets of Philadelphia", did a great deal to increase AIDS awareness and take some of the stigma off the disease.
While generally well-regarded, the film still had its critics. Many gay publications had quite a few issues with the film. Out magazine referred to PHILADELPHIA as "maddeningly closeted". There was a lack of dimensionality in the film's gay characters. Many gay viewers felt that Demme missed an opportunity to accurately portray someone's experience living with AIDS. Gay activist and playwright Larry Kramer described the film as "dishonest" and "simply not good enough".
The film won two Oscars: one for Tom Hanks as Best Actor and another for Springsteen's song. Howard Shore's score was released by Epic Records, which also released a separate song-track CD.
STOREFRONT HITCHCOCK was a rockumentary in which rock-music lover and director Jonathan Demme took on eccentric British singer-songwriter, Robyn Hitchcock, in an ambitious concert film. Setting up a stage in a New York storefront, Hitchcock plays with his back to the glass, while an audience looks on inside and passersby view the action through the window. Rolling Stone said that the 1998 film "preserved the intimacy of Demme's other musical work but also made room for small little flourishes in lighting and backgrounds from song to song – the ideal visual representation of a quirky cult artist."
BELOVED was based on a book by Toni Morrison, and told the story of a slave who is visited by the spirit of her deceased daughter. Oprah Winfrey purchased the film rights to the novel in 1987. She claims that while reading the book, she could only picture herself as "Sethe" and Danny Glover as "Paul D." It took her ten years to get the film made, which she finally had to produce herself.
When Jonathan Demme presented an honorary Oscar to his mentor Roger Corman, he revealed that the Jason Robards role in BELOVED had been originally cast to be played by Corman, but when Corman discovered the role had no lines, "a scheduling conflict ensued and he withdrew from the part with apologies."
Rachel Portman's score for the 1998 film was released on an Epic/Sony CD.
THE TRUTH ABOUT CHARLIE was a 2002 remake of the 1963 romantic thriller CHARADE. Thandie Newton played the "Regina Lambert" part portrayed by Audrey Hepburn in the original, and Mark Wahlberg stood in for Cary Grant (although in this version, his character goes by another name--"Lewis Bartholomew"). Peter Stone, the writer of CHARADE, was so against this remake that in some prints of the movie his source screenwriting credit was changed to "Peter Joshua," the name of Cary Grant's character in CHARADE. Rachel Portman's score was released on a Epic CD.
The documentary THE AGRONOMIST is the true story of Jean Dominique, a Haitian radio journalist and human rights activist. Dominique's death in 2000 was one in a series of depressing milestones in Haiti's history, but Jonathan Demme -- who had befriended him in the early 1990s -- was determined to make this documentary and show to a wide audience all the positive events from his amazing life.
Demme, who became friends with Dominique and filmed him during the journalist's exile in New York, interviews Dominique's widow, his siblings and others who place his life in the context of Haiti's turbulent existence. Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was ousted in what he said was a U.S.-backed coup, is a presence in THE AGRONOMIST and is shown delivering fiery speeches. Only one person is shown really smiling at times, and it's Dominique, who says in a broadcast, "You cannot kill the truth."
Demme won two "Best Documentary" awards for the film-- at the Chicago International Film Festival and at the Gotham Independent Film Awards. The film's score, by Haitian musician Wyclef Jean and Jerry Duplessis, has not had a release.
Demme was in remake territory again with 2004's THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, a new take on the 1962 film of the same name. Tina Sinatra, who was instrumental in deciding to remake the film, inherited the production rights from her father, Frank Sinatra, who played "Bennett Marco" in the 1962 version. Denzel Washington plays the part in the new film. Liev Schreiber was handpicked by Paramount Pictures boss Sherry Lansing for the title role. Rachel Portman scored her third and final film for Demme, with Varese Sarabande releasing the soundtrack.
NEIL YOUNG: HEART OF GOLD was a 2006 concert film shot over during a two-night performance by Neil Young at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium. Demme's film was a warm salute to Young's country-rock side, focusing mostly on the release of his recent record Prairie Wind. In a larger sense, though, the movie paid tribute to a musical survivor who had just been diagnosed with a brain aneurysm, which only made the album and concert's reflective, wistful spirit all the more poignant. No soundtrack album for the film was released.
The 2007 documentary JIMMY CARTER: MAN FROM PLAINS is a chronicle of the former president's late 2006 tour for his book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. Demme's camera follows Carter from city to city, home to Plains (population 635), visiting a Habitat for Humanity site in New Orleans, and talking on radio and TV with Teri Gross, Charlie Rose, Diane Rehm, Jay Leno, Larry King, Wolf Blitzer, and Tavis Smiley. He is seen conversing with Al Jazeera and Israeli pundits, discussing Palestine's plight and the policies of Israel. Critics speak as well. Between events, Carter talks about Camp David, recent travels, being married, speaking Spanish, and wisdom he learned from Rachel Clark, his nanny. A montage of speeches, awards, and travels ends the film.
Demme said: "I have always held President Carter in high esteem, so I leapt at the opportunity to do a documentary portrait of him. I chose the book tour of Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid as the backbone of the documentary before reading the book. I knew that with the kind of subject matter promised by the title, there would probably be a lot of fireworks on that journey. I love how his un-self-censored behavior and attitudes help reveal how authentic and deep President Carter's faith-based motivation really is - and how terrifically complicated he is as a human being, with such an active sense of humor, an encyclopedic knowledge of a seeming endless array of subjects - and how super-sensitive yet bold, feisty and obstinate he can be at times - and that he reveals how a devoted, adoring husband like him fits so organically with the fellow who "loves the ladies." Every time I see this film, President Carter makes me believe that - as frightening and appalling as so many things are in the world today - that there is nevertheless a very real possibility for peace and better lives for future generations if we strive to somehow get along and if we aspire to defining the upside of being human."
The film's score, by Djamel Ben Yelles and Alejandro Escovedo, was released on a Milan CD.
Demme's first dramatic film in four years was 2008's RACHEL GETTING MARRIED, in which a young woman (Anne Hathaway) who has been in and out of rehab for the past 10 years returns home for the weekend for her sister's (Rosemarie DeWitt) wedding. Jenny Lumet (daughter of famed director Sidney Lumet) spent about 7 weeks writing the script. It was her first to be made into a film, even though it was her fifth screenplay.
Anne Hathaway received a Best Actress Oscar nomination. The film's score, by Zafer Tawil and Donald Harrison Jr., was released by Lakeshore records as a soundtrack-songtrack CD.
Frequent partners Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory worked with Jonathan Demme on 2013's A MASTER BUILDER. The project was a filmed version of Henrik Ibsen’s play “The Master Builder,” which Shawn also freely adapted. Shawn starred as the despicable title character, "Halvard Solness," who, while he may not be a murderer, relishes crushing the hopes and dreams of everyone around him. Six composers contributed to the film's unreleased score.
Jonathan Demme's final fiction feature film was 2015's RIKKI AND THE FLASH, about a musician (Meryl Streep) who gave up everything for her dream of rock-and-roll stardom and returns home, looking to make things right with her family. The story is loosely based on scenarist Diablo Cody's real life mother-in-law who has been singing rock and roll for many years. The film had no background score. Universal/Republic issued the film's song-track as a download in the U.S. and on CD overseas.
Thanks for your talent and your films, Jonathan.