Behind The Music
Long before the art department had begun building their sets, the filmmakers had begun to tackle pre-production of the musical elements of the film--which, in a movie about Karaoke, was no mean feat. Paltrow, along with producer Kevin Jones and music supervisors Richard and Maya Rudolph, spent numerous hours laboring over what songs would be included and how the music track would be produced over the course of filming.
Paltrow admits that the prospect was initially very daunting. "I was terrified about the music, because there were so many technical things about it. 1 knew I couldn't do it myself."
Jones recalls, "Coordinating the musical performances was the most challenging aspect of the production. The original screenplay had songs identified in it, and there were so many factors that determined what songs were used."
Paltrow called upon his long-time friend Richard Rudolph to serve as music supervisor for the film. Richard brought in his daughter Maya to help. Says Richard Rudolph, "There are about thirty songs in the film, and we had to work out everything up front (the technical aspects and the legal clearances) so we could pre-record them. We ended up getting a lot of songs for a relatively small budget. We really had to go out to all the different publishers and songwriters and explain to them what we were trying to do."
Jones continues, "Each song had to fit a sort of genetic coding for the character. Whenever we had a meeting to discuss the music, we had to ask, 'Would this character sing this song?' because there's an infinite number of songs to choose from."
To produce the music tracks, the filmmakers solicited the talents of Grammy Award-winning
record producer Larry Klein, who has worked with numerous artists including Joni Mitchell and Shawn Colvin. Klein did the arrangements and brought in musicians to record tracks that would maximize the vocal talents of the cast and the emotional impact of the scene.
Of the five principal cast members who perform songs in "Duets," only Huey Lewis had prior professional experience, but director Bruce Paltrow used his knowledge of his daughter's singing talent to enhance her role in the script.
Paltrow explains, "In the early drafts of the script, Gwyneth's character didn't sing at all. I felt it was essential to create a connective thread between her and her father. Gwyneth is as gifted a singer as she is an actress. She has sung with her mother for years. They used to sing together and harmonize and rock the house."
The filmmakers had selected two songs for Gwyneth Paltrow to perform, "Bette Davis Eyes," and finally, a duet with Huey Lewis of the Smokey Robinson classic "Cruisin'
Huey Lewis recalls being blown away by the actress' singing talent. "Without ever having met Gwyneth, I did an arrangement of the song where I mainly sing harmony with her and really kind of support her. Well, we're in the control room, and they played the track. We sang it
acoustically to the track for the first time, and it was amazing. She's not just a good singer, she's a great singer."
Says Rudolph, "When we got Gwyneth in the studio and she started singing, it was instantly app
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