Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Variety take a glimpse at "Nine"

There was an interesting article on the upcoming film adaptation of Maury Yeston & Arthur Kopit's Nine in this week's Variety. The 1982 musical, which won several Tony Awards including Best Musical, was itself a loose adaptation of Federico Fellini's 8 1/2. Included in the article were some tidbits about casting, Daniel Day-Lewis' singing and his on-set Method existence, director Rob Marshall's concept (which isn't far removed from what he did in Chicago) and the new songs Yeston wrote for the film. Here is the information on the three new songs as reported by the trade (with my thoughts in post-script).

"Guarda la Luna" (Look at the Moon), sung by [Sophia] Loren. "We were lucky enough to have someone who was part of that great period of Italian cinema, who knew Fellini, who knew Marcello Mastroianni (Guido in the Fellini film)," Yeston says. So he tailored a lullaby specifically for Loren's voice (but based the melody on the song "Nine" from the Broadway score).

-- Having seen Man of La Mancha, I am aware of Loren's vocal limitations. The title song of Nine is sung by Guido's mother, and is a showcase for a mature soprano. Taina Elg introduced the song in the original cast, and it was sung by Mary Beth Peil and Marni Nixon in the Broadway revival with Antonio Banderas. I'm curious to see how this new song works within the context of the musical, and am glad to see at least some element of the original song will remain.

"Cinema Italiano," for Hudson as a Vogue writer in Rome to interview the director. "Italian movies also communicated lifestyle and fashion for the world," Yeston says, so [Kate] Hudson sings and dances to a number with "a retro feel, elements of '60s pop" that is designed to illustrate to younger audiences how important Italian cinema was in that era.

-- Nothing like trying to pander to that coveted youth bracket, which seems to be the only reason this song exists. Stephanie Necrophorus is a rather small part in the stage show, so this would seem like an opportunity to give Hudson more to do, especially since Liliane La Fleur (played by Judi Dench) is no longer a producer, but Contini's costume designer. However, if the message boards on IMDb are to be trusted, most people who have been to screenings feel this song is out of place. My curiosity is piqued. (Speaking of Nine screenings, Roxie and I were approached prior to Mary Stuart to see if we'd like to go to one, but unfortunately we both had prior engagements).

"Take It All," originally written as a trio for [Nicole] Kidman, [Penelope] Cruz and [Marion] Cotillard but, just before shooting, rearranged as a solo for Cotillard, according to music supervisor Matt Sullivan. "Heart-wrenching" is how Yeston describes the performance by Cotillard (who won an Oscar playing Edith Piaf).

-- This one better be good. "Simple" and "Be On Your Own" were cut to make way for this new song, probably a ploy to garner some Oscar attention in the Best Song category. As much as I enjoy Maury Yeston and Marion Cotillard, I cannot imagine Luisa having a more effective song than "Be On Your Own."

I've also been told that "The Bells of St. Sebastian" and the entire "Grand Canal" sequence have been cut, so it should be interesting to see what director Rob Marshall has come up with. Word is that Stacy "Fergie" Ferguson delivers a dynamite performance of "Be Italian." Regardless, I love Nine and I look forward to seeing it (all those Oscar winners!). My real curiosity is seeing if the stage show translates well to the screen.

1 comment:

SarahB said...

I find Daniel Day Lewis incredibly unappealing...but I'll see this movie - it looks fabulous and I do enjoy the original and revival cast recordings.