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About The Production
Director and Academy Award®-winning producer Irwin Winkler has long been fascinated by Cole Porter. A huge fan of the Jazz Age and classic American pop music, Winkler found Porter's life intriguing as well as the time period in which he lived. "Porter represents the best of the Jazz Age,” says Winkler. "He is one of the greatest songwriters of all time and is a titan of American music.” He also thought Porter's story lends itself to the screen, a dramatic, romantic story of love and loss, ambition and self-destruction. "Porter led a very theatrical life,” says Winkler, "his mannerisms, his style of living, his dress. He lived like royalty, partied, drank, and was extravagant in his lifestyle. He epitomized excess and grandeur.

"And Cole's life was so contradictory,” Winkler continues. "Here's a man who was married for 38 years, but a man who was also gay in a time when it was considered extremely taboo. Cole and Linda's relationship was very unique, to say the least, and I knew exploring their relationship would be fascinating.”

After initial interest, De-Lovely truly began to take shape when Winkler and producing partner Rob Cowan met with the Cole Porter Trust and The Porter Estate about making a new Porter film. The Trust and Estate were hoping to popularize Porter's music for a new generation of listeners, and they appreciated Winkler's background producing film musicals like New York, New York and ‘Round Midnight. The filmmakers told the Trust they were only interested if they had the freedom to tell Porter's story as they saw fit.

The Trust and Estate were very helpful in putting together the film. Because Porter's songs have been so popular through time, the rights to use them are expensive, and it would have been cost prohibitive without their support. Their assistance was also invaluable in granting access to Porter's personal effects and various documents and letters, which lend an even greater authenticity to the story.

In choosing a screenwriter to weave together a tapestry of Porter's life, the filmmakers called upon Jay Cocks, an Oscar® nominee for Gangs of New York. Cocks had previously written a script for Winkler about the lives of Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington. Winkler asked Cocks if he was interested and Cocks quickly agreed; the two worked together to research and shape the story.

From the beginning, the filmmakers were set on doing something more original than a straight biographical film. "A biopic is just trying to give you the facts,” says producer Cowan. "We wanted to do something bigger, something that would give the essence of the man but also move people, touch them and open their eyes a bit about relationships.”

"We wanted to find a way to get into Porter's head,” adds Winkler, "so we came up with the theatrical device of having Porter watch his life unfold onstage at a theater. It became a way to tie his life together and also to bring his music into play.” It also gave the film an impressionistic feel and helped free up the story's structure.

"Looking back at your life through the prism of time, as Porter's doing in the film, you often see things in a different way,” continues Winkler. "We took advantage of that. We were very true to the spirit of Cole and his music, but we didn't limit ourselves to the biographical or historical sequence of events. A composer looking back on his life would use his own songs as a sort of soundtrack to his memories.”

"It's really what makes the whole thing work,” says producer Charles Winkler. "He's essentially having his life flash before his eyes, and it lends the story poignancy and brings gravity to it from the very beginning. It also helps the production numbers make sense so we could showcase Porter's music.”

And what music! Everyone involved in the production was continuously thrilled by Porter's innovative l

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