Dan 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 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 He has been replaced by Downton Abbey’s Gary Carr.
Despite 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 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. (more…)