: Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Colin Farrell and Robert Duvall Director
: Scott Cooper (feature directorial debut)Written By
: Scott Cooper (based on the novel by Thomas Cobb)Produced by
: Scott Cooper, Rob Carliner, Robert Duvall, Judy Cairo, T-Bone BurnettExecutive Producers
: Jeff Bridges, Michael A. Simpson, Eric Brenner, Leslie BelzbergGenre
Four-time Academy Award® nominee JEFF BRIDGES stars as the richly comic, semi-tragic romantic anti-hero Bad Blake in the debut feature film CRAZY HEART from writer-director Scott Cooper.
Bad Blake is a broken-down, hard-living country music singer who's had way too many marriages, far too many years on the road and one too many drinks way too many times.
And yet, Bad can't help but reach for salvation with the help of Jean (MAGGIE GYLLENHAAL), a journalist who discovers the real man behind the musician.
As he struggles down the road of redemption, Bad learns the hard way just how tough life can be on one man's crazy heart.Release
: February 18, 2010
Four-time Academy Award® nominee JEFF BRIDGES stars as the richly comic, semi-tragic romantic anti-hero Bad Blake in the debut feature film CRAZY HEART from writer-director Scott Cooper. Bad Blake is a broken-down, hard-living country music singer who's had way too many marriages, far too many years on the road and one too many drinks way too many times. And yet, Bad can't help but reach for salvation with the help of Jean (two-time Golden Globe® nominee MAGGIE GYLLENHAAL), a journalist who discovers the real man behind the musician. As he struggles down the road of redemption, Bad learns the hard way just how tough life can be on one man's crazy heart.
At the age of 57, Bad still lives his life out on the road, playing long-ago #1 hits in third-rate beer joints and bowling alleys to aging crowds as drunk and yearning as he is, while his fleeting fame slides into obscurity. The most he can hope for these days is to open a big concert for his young protégé, Tommy Sweet, who learned everything he knows from Bad -- except Tommy, unlike Bad, managed to become rich and famous from it.
One gig blurs into the next until one night in Santa Fe when Bad meets a local journalist Jean Craddock and falls for her harder than usual. Bad promises nothing to Jean and, as a single mom with plenty of regrets, Jean knows she'd be a fool to believe even in that. Still, they continue winding up in each other's arms.
But can Bad, who can barely keep his own head above badly troubled waters, really take care of anyone else? His attempt becomes a gritty and witty portrait of a man coming to terms with his own starkly human limitations and a last chance for a sweet drop of redemption.
Fueled by country rock, CRAZY HEART features original songs from Grammy®-winning and Academy Award®-nominated composer and producer T Bone Burnett (WALK THE LINE, O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU?) along with the late Texas songwriter Stephen Bruton.
CRAZY HEART is based on the novel of the same name by Thomas Cobb. The producers are Scott Cooper, Robert Duvall, Rob Carliner, Judy Cairo and T Bone Burnett with executive producers Jeff Bridges, Michael A. Simpson, Eric Brenner and Leslie Belzberg. The production team includes director of photography Barry Markowitz, A.S.C, production designer Waldemar Kalinowski, film editor John Axelrad and costume designer Doug Hall.
"Country music is three chords and the truth." -- Harlan Howard
Like a sly and tender country song, laced with equal parts passion, humor and trouble, CRAZY HEART is the portrait of a man who has lived hard, fast and recklessly, but still goes after the salvation of love when his heart gets what appears to be one last chance to redeem itself.
Writer, producer and director Scott Cooper - himself a Southerner steeped in the rollicking legends and bittersweet themes of country music - always saw CRAZY HEART's outsized lead character of Bad Blake as a mirror of the country heroes he grew up idolizing, in spite of their wildly unpredictable love lives and battles with their darker impulses. Bad might indeed have a "bad" streak - he can be as ornery, irresponsible, intoxicated and ridiculous as they come - but he is equally a gifted storyteller, an unsinkable romantic, a soul in need, and a man who finally proves himself willing to chase after redemption when all seems lost.
Cooper was best known as an actor - he appears in 2010's GET LOW with Robert Duvall - when he first ran into Bad Blake in Thomas Cobb's novel Crazy Heart. He had been on the hunt for a raw and realistic country-music-themed project to write and direct for some time.
The book was critically acclaimed, with the New York Times Book Review saying "the milieu is as resonant as a steel guitar and the plot moves along without skipping a beat," and country star/novelist/politician Kinky Friedman writing, "The characters are cut cleanly out of America--the roadside West, the dance halls and beer joints, the occasional big concert . . .and the endless, eternal hotel rooms that are as close to home as any country singer ever gets... Bad Blake is a man you will not soon forget."
The character certainly carried a kick and abounded with potential, but as he sat down to write, Cooper faced the task of translating Bad Blake's mix of humor and sorrow into something that would feel resonant and exhilarating on screen, that would come across as funny and honest and that might illuminate in equal parts the sheer exuberance of his musical talent and the tough-to-escape lure of his demons.
In many ways, it came naturally to Cooper. "I grew up with this type of music, living in the same type of world that Bad Blake lives in. And being an actor, I understood the nature of a performance-driven story. I felt like if I couldn't do this, having grown up in the South, steeped in country rock, working as an actor, I was in trouble," he laughs.
Cooper let the character and the rich ironies of his almost-famous, perilously-conducted life guide the way. "What I really wanted to capture was the mixture of humor and pathos in Bad's life, and inject it with levity," he explains. "Bad is an old dog who doesn't know if he has any new tricks, a man who will always go through peaks and valleys but his story moves, in spite of that, towards redemption."
The urge to change is sparked in Bad by one of the sweetest romances he's ever encountered - and here, too, Cooper wanted to evoke all the real and wild contradictions of relationships - the heat and the electricity that make those first moments of love so thrilling and the ways we still can find ourselves doing wrong by those we care about the most no matter how powerful the feelings.
When the script was finished, Cooper turned to another Southern actor and filmmaker who has long been a mentor to him: Robert Duvall, who himself won an Oscar® playing a down-and-out country singer in Horton Foote's beloved classic, TENDER MERCIES. Duvall's response changed everything. "When you send a script to Robert Duvall and he says 'Yes,' that's pretty much all that you could ever dream about," muses Cooper.
It was far more than just a relationship that sealed the deal, however. The script's unerring vision of man trying to follow his untamed, hungry heart and its distinctly Southwestern flavor was right up the alley of Duvall's production company, Butcher's Run.
"Duvall and I have always been drawn to character-driven dramas," explains producer Rob Carliner, Duvall's partner in Butcher's Run. "But we don't often find scripts that portray characters as honestly and authentically as CRAZY HEART. It's a story that will resonate with an awful lot of people because it's about a true American artist who has issues with women and alcohol but through his love of music, tries to save himself."
Adds Duvall: "This film honors a great American tradition: country music, a world I know very well and am happy to be returning to after many years. The story reminded me of TENDER MERCIES, only Horton Foote took a more delicate approach. There's a wonderful roughness to it and it really gets to the hard living and a guy fighting with his demons. It's an age-old story in some ways but Scott Cooper looked at it freshly, and with a sense of truth and new dimensions people haven't seen before."
Coming on board soon after was producer Judy Cairo of Informant Media. "This script just jumped out at me," she recalls, "because it's about country music, which is part of my roots, but also because it's such an earthy, realistic, moving story. Every character in the film is somebody who is completely relatable and distinctly true to the American landscape."
Sums up Carliner: "People who love music are going to really enjoy this movie but I also think people who don't know or care about country music will enjoy Bad Blake's story just as much. It's a movie about real people and real life."
More on Crazy Heart - www.femail.com.au/crazy-heart.htm
Jeff Bridges & Maggie Gyllenhaal Crazy Heart - www.femail.com.au/jeff-bridges-maggie-gyllenhaal-crazy-heart.htm
Crazy Heart T Bone Burnett And Stephen Bruton - www.femail.com.au/crazy-heart-music.htm