John Legend, Keri Russell and Cast Go Extra Mile for "August Rush"
Nov 13, 2007
John Legend, Keri Russell, Freddie Highmore, Robin Williams, Terrence Howard and Jonathan Rhys Meyers went above and beyond the usual call of duty to make "August Rush" -- the highly anticipated Nov. 21 release that's a modern-day fairy tale about a young music prodigy on a quest to find the parents he's never known.
That's the report from "August Rush" music supervisor/"Nashville Star" judge Anastasia Brown. She says her "August Rush" musical team, including Jeff Pollack and composer Mark Mancina, worked tirelessly with all the actors in the film that only has about 60 seconds sans music. "Mark really created a genius score that he had to actually write before one inch of film was shot, and every actor learned to play. Keri took six months of cello lessons, Freddie took organ and guitar lessons, and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who plays guitar a little, continued to learn with a guitar teacher in whatever country he was. It was a challenge for everyone because if it didn't look like they were playing or singing, the movie would fall apart."
She notes that multi-Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Legend fell hard under the irresistible spell of "August Rush." "John wrote and recorded our end title song, 'Some Day,' but he wasn't that interested in doing it at first because he'd never written a song for a film before," says Brown of Legend, who joins Five for Fighting and legendary rock producer Phil Ramone on the "August Rush" soundtrack. "My co-music supervisor, Julia Michaels, really worked hard at securing John. We got him the script and a 12-minute trailer we'd done, and he just started writing. He said he didn't really have a choice -- just like all of us."
She adds, "Phil Ramone is a great friend of mine and normally does enormous films with huge music budgets, but I went to him humbly and said, 'If you read the script, I bet you it's going to get hold of your heart,' and he called me back and said, 'All right, I'm in.'"
WHAT HAPPENS IN THE CAR … : "Carpoolers'" nomination for a People's Choice Award last week is evidence the ABC sitcom is finally finding its audience, notes Jerry O'Connell. "It's been tough to get our footing, but hopefully we'll stick around because it really is a funny show. I definitely believe in it." The writers' strike comes just as the show was building some momentum, but O'Connell says, "Hey, that's how it goes. … We stand by our writer brothers and sisters. We were out there walking the picket line, and it was a lot of fun."
He says the troupe managed to do "half our season, 13 episodes" before the strike hit. Tonight's (Nov. 13) episode "is called 'The Code,' where something happens and we're all let in on a secret and can't tell our significant others. It makes fun of the fact that there's supposed to be code of ethics among carpoolers."
WHERE THE SHOW GOES ON: "Trading Spaces" starts its sixth season of production this week, with Paige Davis back as host of the show that was credited with sparking a nationwide interest in home decorating. "We'll be shooting all over the country -- wherever we find two people who want to swap rooms to design," says executive producer Frank Sinton.
While much of Hollywood is paralyzed by the writers' strike, for Sinton and his Smith and Company, who specialize in producing documentaries, reality programs and such sports shows as the 10-time Emmy-nominated "Beyond the Glory," it's business as usual. And business is terrific. They're halfway through their second season of "American Gangster," the hit BET program that tells the stories of such black gang leaders as Kenneth Supreme McGriff, Nicky Barnes and Frank Lucas -- the same Frank Lucas who's portrayed by Denzel Washington in the current big-screen "American Gangster" hit and featuring an appearance by Denzel. The firm is also producing Dennis Miller's new no-holds-barred "Sports Unfiltered" series for the Versus channel. And they're producing a Harlem Globe Trotters 80th anniversary special that will air in January.
UNLUCKY IN LOVE: Dane Cook, who's currently on the big screen playing Steve Carell's brother in Disney's hilarious "Dan in Real Life" romantic comedy, recently wrapped "Bachelor No. 2" with Kate Hudson and Alec Baldwin -- and again, he's not playing a romantic ideal. "I'm the guy you hire to take your girlfriend out and basically run her life so she comes back to you," he says. "It's going to be out sometime mid '08."
With reports by Stephanie DuBois and Emily Fortune Feimster.
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