Neil Bogart changed the music industry forever, and Jeremy Jordan plays the brilliant music producer and founder of Casablanca Records in the movie Spinning Gold, which was directed by Neil’s own son, Tim Bogart. HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Jeremy about stepping into Neil’s shoes and capturing his legacy.
“I never really felt pressure to do an imitation of Neil,” Jeremy told HollywoodLife at the New York screening of Spinning Gold at the Roxy Cinema. “There’s not a whole lot of footage of him. There are videos, but I was really tasked with sort of capturing his essence, and then everything else would fall into place after that. It was more so take this starting position and then run with it. Tim, our director, was always so collaborative and encouraging and he sort of recreated this character in as fun a way as possible.”
Neil helped kickstart the careers of KISS, Donna Summer, Village People, and more. In today’s world of music, his name often gets lost in the shuffle. Jeremy reflected on the importance of bringing Neil’s accomplishments to light for a modern audience.
“One, I think learning about this man’s legacy is always really important. I really love that his children get to tell that story,” he said. “Two, he was just a singular individual you don’t really see anymore. No was not in his vocabulary. He did not stop no matter what sort of obstacles were in his way until he achieved the things he set out to achieve. Even if it took 5, or 10 years, and even if he had to fake it until he made it and was millions and millions of dollars in debt, nothing held him back from reaching the highest of the heights. I think there’s something to be said for taking at least a little bit of that energy in your own life. Maybe not as full out. I don’t think anybody could go as full out, especially these days because it was the 70s.”
Jeremy noted that the acts Neil stood behind have become “timeless.” He added, “He really left his mark on all of those artists, and I don’t think they would have a) achieved what they fully achieve without him and b) some of them might not have ever gotten to be known in the first place. They were the artists for sure, but he was their biggest cheerleader.”
Neil sadly died at the young age of 39 from cancer. “A big theme of the movie is time and how we try to make as most of the time that we have as we can,” Jeremy said. “He just wishes he had more time, and you can’t help but sort of wonder if he did have more time how much more he could have accomplished. Maybe he would be somebody you or I would have known before this film.”
Jeremy recalled that he saw a lot of Neil in Tim, the film’s writer and director. “He had a lot of his father’s tendencies, his tenacity and inability to take no for an answer. I took a lot of characteristics for Neil straight from Tim,” the actor told HollywoodLife.
The Smash alum revealed Spinning Gold was a “collaborative” set where Tim “gave us a script, but he was like, ‘This is just the guideline. You do whatever you need to do, and we’ll just leave it open.’ He would leave the tape rolling, and we would go up to 5 minutes of improv-ing and making sh*t up. A lot of that is in the movie. A solid 20-30% of the movie is fully improv. It really felt like we were contributing in a big way and not just reciting lines on a page.” Spinning Gold hits theaters on March 31.
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