Music (2021 film)
|Edited by||Matt Chessé|
Music is an upcoming American musical drama film directed by singer-songwriter Sia. The film's screenplay was co-written by Sia and children's book author Dallas Clayton. and stars Kate Hudson, Maddie Ziegler and Leslie Odom Jr.
Zu (Kate Hudson), a newly sober drug dealer and self-saboteur finds herself the sole guardian of her teenaged (minor), autistic half-sister, Music (Maddie Ziegler). Zu is a free spirit barely able to take care of herself, let alone her sister; Zu struggles with this new responsibility, but soon learns that life's obstacles are made easier with a little help from a friend, Ebo (Leslie Odom Jr.), a neighbor whose own family story makes him someone Zu can learn from and rely upon. The film explores the tenuous bonds that hold us together and imagines a world where those bonds can be strengthened in times of great challenge. Fantasy musical sequences show how the title character views the world.
- Kate Hudson as Zu
- Maddie Ziegler as Music
- Leslie Odom Jr. as Ebo
- Héctor Elizondo as George
- Mary Kay Place as Millie
- Tig Notaro as TV Host
- Ben Schwartz
- Juliette Lewis
Background and development
Sia announced the film project at the 2015 Venice Film Festival, to star Maddie Ziegler, who starred in a series of music videos that Sia co-directed with Daniel Askill and who has danced during many of Sia's live performances. After creating the music video for "Chandelier" in 2014, Sia decided she was "pretty good" at directing and "felt a little bit braver". The film's screenplay was co-written by Sia and children's book author Dallas Clayton based on a one-page story that she had written in 2007. Sia enjoyed the creative process and noted similarities between directing and writing songs. She said:
For me, the process was basically, I work out the movie. I'll act it out, I'll have the dialogue already in my head ... I can't be bothered to learn Final Draft. ... Like, when I sing, I just want to sing the melody and write the lyrics. I don't want to have to do production, which is very technical. I don't enjoy that.
The project, originally conceived as a non-musical film, was subsequently written as a musical, with songs by Sia and choreography by Sia's frequent collaborator Ryan Heffington. It was first given the working title Sister and subsequently renamed Music. Kate Hudson and Leslie Odom Jr. joined Ziegler as co-stars. The film was shot in mid-2017. At that time, Ziegler was 14 years old.
Sia stated in 2019 that the film was set for release in October of that year. As of June 2020, it was expected to be released in 2020, but IMAX has announced a limited release in February 2021. The film's producers have announced that HanWay Films is handling global sales.
Sia wrote 10 songs for the film; she released "Together" as the lead single from the soundtrack on May 20, 2020. A second single, "Courage to Change", was released on September 24, 2020, followed closely by "Hey Boy" on November 19, 2020.
In addition to the film's soundtrack, which is due for release later in 2021, Sia plans an earlier release of a studio album on February 12, 2021, Music – Songs From and Inspired by The Motion Picture.
After the release of the film's first trailer in November 2020, Sia was criticized on social media for casting Ziegler, rather than an autistic actor, to portray the nonverbal, autistic title character in the film. Sia responded to critics on Twitter. Lucy Kross Wallace, who identifies as autistic, wrote in Spiked magazine that "rather than giving [Music] a chance, the Twittermob has seized on every incriminating detail to blow the controversy wildly out of proportion."
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