Friday, October 27, 2017

NIck Nolte and Songs by Prince

Director, writer and producer James L. Brooks has had a golden touch in television and movies.  He shaped THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW into a successful sitcom that made TV history.  He won Oscars for directing, writing and producing the Best Picture of 1983, TERMS OF ENDEARMENT.  Shirley MacLaine and Jack Nicholson also won Oscar for it.  His production BROADCAST NEWS brought him Oscar nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture of 1987.  His production AS GOOD AS IT GETS brought him Oscar nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture.  Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt won Oscar for it.  In between BROADCAST NEWS and AS GOOD AS IT GETS was a James L. Brooks comedy film that went over like fried liver sandwiches as a children's birthday party.  This kind of flop happens to us all in show biz.  You work hard to make a project pleasing but it just doesn't click.  His flop project was 1994's I'LL DO ANYTHING starring Nick Nolte as a good but unsuccessful screenwriter and divorced dad.  His bratty little girl is staying with him while he doggedly seeks employment in Hollywood so he can be a responsible parent.
The original cut of this James L. Brooks original screen comedy co-starring Albert Brooks, Tracey Ullman and Julie Kavner had nine original songs -- written by Prince.  Reportedly, all the songs were cut after the film's previews.  According to an article in The Los Angeles Times the year of the film's disastrous release, Albert Brooks did a couple of songs, Julie Kavner did one and Tracey Ullman did one.  Also, in the original cut, Nick Nolte had made his singing debut with a song by Prince.  The Times article went on to report that there was a demo tape circulating with the deleted numbers on it.  Said one astonished professional songwriter who played the tape for friends at a party, "It's like Springtime for Hitler in The Producers."
Do these original songs by the late, great Prince still exist or did he have them destroyed?  Has anyone besides those actors, writer/director James L. Brooks and a few others in Hollywood heard them?
They may very well be awful but, because they were written by Prince, I'd be extremely interested in hearing them anyway.

I love James L. Brooks.  He was one of my all-time favorite guests on VH1 back in the late 80s.  After my VH1 contract expired, he graciously took a meeting with me in his 20th Century Fox lot office and gave me 45 minutes of his time.  I've had agents who never even gave me that much time.  I saw I'LL DO ANYTHING.  As much as I love James L. Brooks, I did not love that musical comedy with, after previews, became just a comedy.  No music.  The highlight of I'LL DO ANYTHING is the face of Nick Nolte.  He was in his early 50s...but looked like he was 30-something.
If you know anything about those missing Prince songs, please let me know.

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