‘Flora And Son’ Songwriter-Composer Gary Clark On How He And Director John Carney Found The High Life – Sound & Screen Film

‘Flora And Son’ Songwriter-Composer Gary Clark On How He And Director John Carney Found The High Life – Sound & Screen Film

In Apple Original Films’ Flora and Son, single mom Flora (Eve Hewson) is at a loss about what to do with her rebellious teenage son Max (Orén Kinlan). Encouraged by the police to find Max a hobby, Flora tries to occupy him with a beat-up acoustic guitar. With the help of a washed-up L.A. musician (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Flora and Max discover the transformative power of music.

In order to build up believable chemistry between its leads in the film and tenderize the relationship between mother and son, songwriter and composer Gary Clark first had to build a relationship with director John Carney, a feat Clark would find was three decades in the making. At Deadline’s Sound & Screen: Film event, Clark reflected on the oddly coincidental meeting that set their now frequent collaboration partnership on full course.

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“When John first called me, we’d never met, and the only thing that I’d seen [of his] was Once. … He then made this really semi-autobiographical [movie] called Sing Street about his school band, and so the big theme in that movie is that his brother turned him onto a lot of music,” Clark said. “And one of the records that he’d turned onto was my band’s first album that we made in 1987 or something. And John had the idea of calling different people that had influenced him as a kid, but I was only one of the calls. He asked me to write a song, sent me a brief, and I wrote the song, and he loved it and just said, ‘Will you come on to do the whole movie?’ ”

Since the production of Flora and Son, Clark has worked with Carney on Prime Video’s Modern Love. Adding to what makes their creative relationship so productive is the way Carney is not afraid to get experimental in the studio during filming if something doesn’t feel authentic to his story.

When it came to the film’s apex song “High Life,” for example, Clark said he and Carney had hit a roadblock when Hewson expressed concerns about the song not being something that Flora would sing.

“That was one of the tougher [songs] to get. Not so much musically, we kind of got the musical side of it quite quickly, and I got the chorus, but Eve hated the verse lyrics. So John had this idea to just go to the studio and hash it out, which I had never done before [in this way]. I was terrified, but it actually turned out to be great fun, and that’s how we got all that funny stuff [put in the song.]”

Check out the panel video above.

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