One down, two to go. It's been a helluva busy year for director Cameron Crowe. He's already delivered one film, his Elton John documentary "The Union" and with five and a half months to go before the end of 2011, he will deliver two more movies. First, his long in the works Pearl Jam documentary "Pearl Jam Twenty" will premiere at the Venice Film Festival before hitting the "American Masters" series on PBS in October that will be followed by a DVD release. And then, just in time for the holidays, the director will drop his first feature film in six years, the dramedy "We Bought A Zoo." Based on the memoir by Benjamin Mee, with a script from “The Devil Wears Prada” writer Aline Brosh McKenna, the story follows Mee (Matt Damon), a single father who attempts to fulfill his late wife’s wish of moving their family to the titular animal sanctuary. Damon is joined by a solid ensemble that includes Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Haden Church, Angus MacFadyen, Elle Fanning, Patrick Fugit, John Michael Higgins and J.B. Smoove.
Of course, you can't talk about a Crowe film without mentioning the music, and even before cameras rolled on 'Zoo' early word turned to what we might hear on the accompanying soundtrack. Back in December, Damon revealed, “When [Cameron Crowe] gave me the screenplay, it came with music.” He added that among the tunes there was “a lot of Eddie Vedder, a lot of Neil Young.” Well in an interview with The Uncool -- his own official website -- Crowe confirms those artists were in the mix early but that certainly could change.
"I think it’s going to lean heavily into one or two artists, but not necessarily either of them. We did play a lot of Eddie, Neil and PJ during the movie. It’s kind of revealing itself now," Crowe explained. "There is another artist who is campaigning in the editing room with his music ala Cat Stevens in 'Harold and Maude.' We’ll see how far it gets."
The comparison to the Hal Ashby film is interesting. As fans already know, that film contained a soundtrack of songs made up entirely of tunes by Cat Stevens and he even contributed two new songs -- “Don’t Be Shy” and “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out” -- for the movie. What you may not know is that Crowe himself reissued the soundtrack on vinyl in 2007 via his own Vinyl Films label that included a thirty page oral history on the making of the movie. Nice.
So who is the mystery artist in the editing suite that is pushing for inclusion? Let the guessing games begin! But we definitely dig the idea of one or two artists providing the sole musical voice through a film, and if anyone can put that together beautifully, it's Crowe. "We Bought A Zoo" will hit theaters on December 23rd. So will it pop up on the fall festival circuit? It seems a long shot right now. According to Crowe's own blog, shooting was still taking place earlier this month (though maybe those were pickups) but he does say he's already piecing things together in the editing bay. But with just under two months before the trifecta of Venice, Telluride and TIFF the clock is ticking.