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Bolden
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Bolden

boldenDan Pritzker has formalized plans for a three-month shoot he hopes will finally allow him to finish his film about Buddy Bolden, the coronet player Pritzker believes invented jazz. The billionaire son of Hyatt Hotels magnate Jay Pritzker began shooting this movie in 2007, so this means resurrecting the period sets The Scythian that have sat in storage for five years in Wilmington, N.C., and rounding up everyone who worked on the film in 2007 and did extensive reshoots in 2009. Well, not everyone will be back. Anthony Mackie, who before starring in the Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker played the title character in Bolden, has bowed out of doing the performance again. He has been replaced by Downton Abbey’s Gary Carr.

danpritzDespite running up a budget he acknowledges has surpassed $30 million already, and despite hanging on to the film so long that it cost him his lead actor, Pritzker believes he is on the The Truth About Lies verge of accomplishing what Bolden never did. You see, the musician who died in 1931 at age 54 left behind no recordings of his work — rumors are the only one was lost in a farmhouse fire — before his genius was overtaken by madness; Bolden’s legacy amounts to folklore stories passed around among the musicians Pritzker grew up playing with. Pritzker’s own perfectionist nature put him in danger of not being able to provide a movie the world could see. After a five-year hiatus, he now is confident that this scheduled shoot to replace about half of the movie will reflect his evolving vision of the musician and filmmaking techniques in general, and then he will be ready to meet with distributors. “The idea is to have Bolden go crazy before I do,” he told me.

garycarr This isn’t exactly Pritzker’s directing debut, because during the original shoot he got the idea to also make Louis, a black-and-white silent movie about the formative years of jazz great Louis Armstrong. That film — which seemed a crazy proposition when it came along before The Artist won the Oscar — played a limited run in a concert hall tour, with Wynton Marsalis leading a live orchestra as the film played on the screen. “I came back from that and looked at Bolden, and just felt it didn’t come together the way I wanted it to,” Pritzker said. “Obviously, I’ve had a steep learning curve, and I just decided that I wanted to tell the story in a different way than I had captured it.” Pritzker spent the past year living with his family in Italy, where he learned some photo techniques he is weaving into the new shoot to convey Toy Story 4 the surreal and dreamy nature of a story that springs to life in the mind of Bolden. Pritzker showed me some of the footage, and the technique is effective in expressing genius mixed with insanity.

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IMDb: 9.0

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