Saturday, October 3, 2009

Jonathan Demme and Neil Young

So - I asked Jonathan Demme, during the q and a portion of the panel discussion on music and film, about Neil's involvement in post-filming portion of the production of "Neil Young: Trunk Show."

(photo of Jonathan Demme filming Neil Young by Larry Cragg)

Here's what he said:

"When Neil and I did "Heart of Gold," a film inspired by the music on his then-new album, "Prairie Wind," I had nothing to do with the music and, on the film part, I kept spouting ideas, but Neil and I were like one brain. Everything had to go by him from me and lots of stuff was coming to me and it was fusion, fusion, fusion."

His fingerprints were on eveyr individual frame of that movie. Neil is a fantastic filmmaker. It went great. We never had a misstep. It was a really glorious experience.

On this movie, he was on tour. He recognized a number of the camera operators, he knew them anyway, he now had a lot of trust in me and my taste, because he could see how closely we lined up on so many things.

I sent him a couple songs and I'd wait a long time to hear back. I'd get paranoid and I'd track him down and he hadn't had a chance to look at it yet and we just kept putting the movie together and the next thing I knew, we had a cut that I loved.

I told him, I sent him e-mails, 'we're departing from the set list, we're not going ot use this.' He didn't even want to see dailies of all the footage, which he did on "Heart of Gold." And he came into the cutting room and wanted to re-edit a song and I said, 'here's the test, here's the test.' And he tried some stuff and he said, 'O.K - what do you think, Jonathan?' And I said, "I don't like that version of the ending." He said Ok.

The punchline is, that finally Neil Young came to New York and we got a screening room. We turned it up very loud and we played "Neil Young: Trunk Show" for him. The lights came on. It was a great experience watching him. It played really good...
I came down to where Neil is sitting. He's sitting in his chair and he's never speechless. And he's just sitting there, still staring at the screen. I said, 'so?'"

Let's just say that, according to Demme, Neil loved it and used an expletive to express his approval.

"He just let it happen. That was part of his thing - to stay back."

No comments: