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U2 may be considered the biggest band in the world, but when it came to getting the superstar group to record a song for The Weinstein Company’s new film about Nelson Mandela, the negotiations weren’t that difficult.
Director Justin Chadwick shed more light on how U2 became involved with the film and what they connected with in the story.
“I wrote to Bono and asked him to see the movie,” Chadwick told The Hollywood Reporter. “I know obviously of his connection with Mandela’s family and the struggle — and Northern Ireland went through a struggle as well and that band formulated out of that struggle — and when he saw the movie, connected with it and saw actually what the heart of the movie was, which is a film about love and forgiveness. So, he and the band went back to their roots and it’s a very, very raw recording. “Ordinary Love” is a beautiful track that echoes the early U2.
Chadwick, who grew up as a U2 fan in Manchester, listening to their earlier albums like Boy, War and Unforgettable Fire, said it was an honor for him to have the band compose a song for his film.
“And to listen to them cut it in the recording studio was just a dream come true for me,” he added.
Weinstein suggested that U2 is the perfect fit for the film, given their anti-apartheid background and friendship with Mandela.
“In the 1970s as Irish musicians, teenagers, they used to play gigs opposing apartheid,” Weinstein said. “[Mandela] knows them so well. They’ve been there 20, 25 years of his life. They organized the big shows to raise awareness to sanction South Africa. They’ve been right at the forefront. There’s nobody in the world that he would rather have or we would rather have.”
Both Bono and The Edge told a group of reporters at Monday night’s screening that they worked hard to create a song worthy of Mandela, knowing they had to get it right.
“I went through a lot of drafts, just to get it right,” Bono said.
Mandela, which hits select theaters on Friday, is just the latest of several potential awards contenders released by The Weinstein Company this year, including Fruitvale Station, Lee Daniels’ The Butler and Philomena. The company also has August: Osage County, which opens on Dec. 25.
Weinstein indicated that he was taking care to make sure that each one of his potential nominees got the attention it deserved.
“That’s why we’re here tonight,” Weinstein, who was particularly willing to talk to reporters on Monday, told THR. “You know, it’s not easy, some — you’ve got Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts in August: Osage County, it’s not that difficult, but with a movie like this, it’s more so. You know, you just gotta make sure that you get it right.”
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