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HAPPY FEET

The Music
When George Miller was first inspired to write "Happy Feet,” he wasn't imagining it as a musical. "As I was conceiving this story, it occurred to me that the way the Emperor Penguins find their soul mates through song required that there be songs in the movie. When it turned out that Mumble couldn't sing but could dance, I suddenly found that I was in the middle of a musical. I like to call it an accidental musical,” Miller remarks.

Miller ended up focusing the film around the Heartsong concept and, because popular music is a form of expression familiar to everyone, the producers selected iconic songs to bring the story to life. "Happy Feet” enlists many kinds of musical styles, including rock, funk, opera, rap, liturgical, pop, gospel and latin in the narrative.

"Because all the penguins look essentially the same, each had to be differentiated by unique voices and, indeed, unique songs, so I decided from the get-go to mainly use a repertoire of songs from the twentieth century,” Miller elaborates. "Judy Morris has a remarkable, encyclopedic knowledge of music; she's like a walking iPod. She can conjure up any tune or any lyric of any song at a moment's notice. In the countless sessions we held to select music, she came up with some inspired choices that fit our story.”

Helping to craft the musical soundscape for the film was noted composer John Powell. "We didn't just need a composer on ‘Happy Feet,' we needed a multiple-threat player,” suggests Miller. "I wanted someone who wouldn't feel like they were slumming in pop music, and who wouldn't be intimidated by the more classical orchestral pieces or opera, or even rap. John Powell really understands world music, and he's young enough as a composer to draw on many musical disciplines and genres.”

"John created some really incredible arrangements,” offers Brittany Murphy. "For one of Gloria's songs, we did an homage to Freddie Mercury with Queen's ‘Somebody To Love,' which was a perfect selection to go along with the movie's theme. We went in this gospel direction; it was very sensitive but still really fun. It was incredible working on the arrangements with John. He is a great musical mentor to me.”

Some of the other Heartsongs featured in the film include: The Beach Boys' "Do It Again,” Frank Sinatra's "My Way” (sung by Robin Williams in Spanish), and a version of Prince's "Kiss” (sung as a duet between Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman). The last led to a coup for the musical repertoire of the film. When Miller wanted to change the original "Kiss” lyrics (to "make them more penguin”), he asked for Prince's permission, which was initially denied. After watching an early cut of the film, not only did the musician agree to the lyric changes, he liked it so much that he wrote an original song for the film that is played over the end credits. Prince's "The Song of the Heart” will also be featured on the "Happy Feet” soundtrack, being released by Warner Sunset/Atlantic Records on October 31, 2006.

The same album will showcase a wide array of popular artists, including the legendary Patti LaBelle, Yolanda Adams and "American Idol's” Fantasia Barrino, all singing "I Wish”; Pink performing "Tell Me Something Good”; Chrissie Hynde and Jason Mraz singing an original mash-up of the songs "Everything I Own/The Joker”; k.d. lang singing The Beatles' "Golden Slumbers”; Gia Farrell's new single "Hit Me Up”; and the Brand New Heavies' song "Jump N' Move.” John Powell's orchestral score will also be featured in "The Story of Mumble Happyfeet.”

"Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman also sing in the film,” Miller recalls. "But given that Mumble's character is excluded from his community because he sings so badly, Elijah Wood wasn't required to sing well. So the truth is I don't know if he can! I did, at one point, ask him to sing very badly—and he

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