By Simon Dang | The Playlist January 24, 2011 at 2:16AM
Duo Writing Original Music For Film, Will Also Feature Performance By Byrne
Italian helmer Paolo Sorrentino made a name for himself at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival with his film "Il Divo" but he'll more than likely soon be better known worldwide for his upcoming music-centric revenge tale, "This Must Be The Place," starring Sean Penn and Frances MacDormand. The project won't just share a title of a song by New York New-Wavers Talking Heads though, as that band's lead singer David Byrne is going meta in scoring and writing original music for the film.
Speaking with TimeOut, Byrne took the opportunity to discuss his collaboration with Sorrentino, revealing that he'll also be working with "Will Oldham on songs for a film by Italian director Paolo Sorrentino" which follows the story of an aging rock star who becomes fixated on pursuing the Nazi criminal who tormented his father in a concentration camp. Penn will, of course, be portraying the Robert Smith look-a-like protagonist whose musical talents and abilities will evidently be explored through the writing of Byrne and Oldham.
Previously, Byrne had noted that he was "hoping that [audiences] won’t know it’s me. I’m hoping I’ll be kind of invisible, if it works” and that the music written “will be sung by another person in the movie, not Sean Penn." The Talking Heads songwriter will also have "a tiny role" in the pic and will be "playing one of [his] own songs" -- sounds like he'll be playing some sort of fellow musician?
"[Sorrentino] works amazingly well with his cinematographer, Luca Bigazzi," Byrne added. "I don’t know if they had it figured out ahead of time, but they had a really specific way of covering each scene. It looked very beautiful and precise. Sometimes I look at a Hollywood film and a scene is just a cavalcade of wide shots then a close-up on the actor." Sorrentino's specificity is also likely what led to his teaming with Byrne, who added that the director "came to me and wanted me to be in it. I originally said I had no ambitions in that area. I did it years ago, just the tiniest little bit, and I realized there are people who are really good at this who love it.’
Folk singer-songwriter Oldham -- better known by the stage name Bonnie "Prince" Billy -- is no stranger to the cinematic world either having debuted as an actor in John Sayles' 1987 film "Matewan" and, more recently, respectively starring and featuring Kelly Reichardt's first two feature films, "Old Joy" and "Wendy & Lucy."
Shooting on "This Must Be The Place" took place in the U.S. and Ireland with a cast also featuring Harry Dean Stanton, Kerry Condon, Judd Hirsch and Bono's daughter Eve Hewson. Considering Sorrentino ("Il Divo") and Penn's ("Fair Game") recent associations with Cannes, could a Croisette premiere be on the horizon?