A while back I received an impassioned call from the producer of a small film, LADY BIRD, telling me how much first-time writer/director Greta Gerwig wanted Jon Brion to score her film.
Brion saw it and loved it and really hit it off with her. It took a while to figure out how to construct a deal that would work, but everyone kept trying and we finally got there.
Went to a screening and Q&A last night with Gerwig and star Saoirse Ronan. Both the score and the movie are outstanding (it is 100% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes)
Spoke with Gerwig after, who told me she had tempted the film with Jerry Goldsmith’s A PATCH OF BLUE and even put “Music by Jerry Goldsmith” in the early draft of the Main Titles. It was this version she sent to Brion. He was delighted by the prospect of scoring a film NOT tempt with his own music.
She also told me Brion kept apologizing for not using midi to mock things up, that his process was slower, building layers acoustically over time. She said she was fine with that. About three weeks into their collaboration, she finally admitted to Jon that she had no idea what midi was.
A great new director/composer collaboration was born and she is now bringing Brion in on the script stage of her next project.
My history with Jon Brion started as I spent over a year trying to sign him.
I first fell in love with his score to MAGNOLIA, but it was PUNCH DRUNK LOVE that pushed to over the edge. I HAD to work with him.
So I went to see his shows at Largo at least once a month for about a year, introducing and reintroducing myself after each performance. I told him how much I wanted to represent him. He was always polite, but told me repeatedly that he wasn’t really interested in doing many films.
I ignored his rejections and just kept coming back over and over.
Eventually, I caught wind that he was considering scoring THE ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND. Someone in his inner circle told me where he was recording an album that day. I showed up and made a proposal to Jon:
I offered to be his agent for free on the SPOTLESS MIND deal. That would give us each chance to get to know each other and see if we would want to continue a relationship afterward.
It was hard to turn down free representation.
There were LOTS of complications during the process of scoring the film and I was able to be helpful in sorting out a lot. It also ended up costing me out of pocket in travel costs to attend the recording sessions.
And at the end, Jon and I bonded and have been together ever since.