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Before production even began, Peter Hedges began thinking about the music for DAN IN REAL LIFE. He knew he wanted something quite distinctive, which sent him on a listening safari for the unknown sound he was seeking. "I had been searching far and wide for someone whose music I thought would align with the film, and I must have listened to 500 different artists, and I kept coming back to this one song by Sondre Lerche,” recalls Hedges. Hedges didn't know much about Lerche at the time, but he quickly learned that he was a rising star on the singer-songwriter scene, a 20-something-year-old Norwegian who was generating global success with his melodic and mood-setting pop tunes and his band, Faces Down.

"So I went to meet him,” Hedges continues. "Ironically, he lives in the same building where my therapist has an office! I talked for an hour about my vision for the film and then suddenly he says: ‘Hold on for a minute.' And he goes into his bedroom and comes out with a guitar, saying, ‘I wrote this song the other day; it sounds like the movie.' And he sang me such a beautiful, beautiful song. I felt right then that this guy is the real deal.”

Lerche, who also appears on-screen at the end of the film performing the song "Modern Nature” with Faces Down, was quickly given a tough creative mandate from Peter Hedges. "The first thing Peter showed me that he thought was relevant to his film and the score was the film ‘Harold and Maude,'” says Lerche, "which I know is one of his absolute favorite films. He really liked the very unusual way it uses Cat Stevens' music.

It's just all songs; there's no dramatic music. The lyrics are not telling you about the situations; they're very loosely in the spirit of the scene. It's accomplished in a very unique, clever and heartfelt way. He wanted something like that for DAN IN REAL LIFE.” Lerche also produced a searing new version of the Peggy Lee classic "Fever” featuring the voice of A Fine Frenzy, also known as the 22-year-old Seattle singer Alison Sudol, for the film and recorded a duet with rising New York-based singer-songwriter Regina Spektor, heard during the bowling sequence—as well as a series of original songs that help to establish the tone for the film's clever mix of conflicted love and family complications.

To get the right creative mood, Lerche attended rehearsals with the actors and used that as inspiration for his musical themes. The plan seemed to work as Lerche soaked up the atmosphere and turned that into songs that are both fun and emotional.

Sums up Hedges: "The thing about Sondre's music is that it feels timeless to me. There's a depth to it, and you feel that this is a man who believes in love. The music is just infused with that feeling without being sappy or sentimental—which made it a complete dream for this story.”


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