Jeremy Jordan Says Spinning Gold Arrives at a Great Time in History
Mar 31, 2023
Long before Donna Summer was “The Donna Summer,” Casablanca Records founder Neil Bogart was intent on making her a superstar. Remember Summer’s hit, Love to Love You? As the new movie Spinning Gold spins it, Bogart suggested our disco queen stretch out on the floor and evoke the breathy pleasures of, well, how it feels to “love to love.” How much of that, and other bits of music history, is a cold-hard fact is up for audiences to decide when seeing Spinning Gold.
The film is both a tribute to director-writer-producer Tim Bogart’s father and a dreamy origin story of Casablanca Records, which became the most successful indie record label in the 1970s after a rocky start a decade earlier. The film finds Jeremy Jordan (Supergirl, The Last Five Years) morphing into Casablanca’s idealist leader, Neil Bogart. A robust array of talent joins Jordan for the ride here: Saturday Night Live alum Jay Pharoah, Michelle Monaghan (Mission: Impossible), Michael Ian Black (Reno 911!: It’s a Wonderful Heist), Peyton List (Bunk’d), Sebastian Maniscalco (About My Father), and a slew of some of today’s eager music stars. Cue the catchy songs and musical numbers.
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Ultimately, Spinning Gold is told in very broad strokes. You get the sense this would have been even more groovy had it arrived in the form a compelling eight-episode streaming series in the vein of Chippendales but with the smarts of Minx. Tim Bogart’s enthusiasm shines throughout — perhaps his dad’s spirit (take that however you like), too. Jeremy Jordan and Tim Bogart share more about the film with MovieWeb.
Tim Bogart on Honoring His Father’s Legacy
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As told by Tim Bogart in Spinning Gold, his father was “absolutely broke” a great deal of the time. But rather than giving up, the man borrowed from the mob and, Bogart added, “literally gambled in Vegas with house chips to make payroll.” But Neil Bogart had a rare gift, as Spinning Gold hopes to illuminate. He saw where music and culture were headed in the decade ahead. The main thing he needed was time for everybody and everything around him to catch up — with his vision.
“The history my father created during that extraordinary period became the soundtrack of our lives,” Bogart noted in production notes. He went on to tell MovieWeb that the best advice his father gave him in life is the same message you find in the movie. “This guy dreams so big,” explained Bogart. “He just embraced every moment of every morsel that he could out of life. And while he left us way too soon, that was the message: Don’t waste any of it. And I’ve certainly tried to live up to that.”
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Not surprisingly, considering the subjects — Neil Bogart, music, connection — Spinning Gold is a family affair. Executive music producer Evan Bogart, one of Neil’s sons, serves as one of the producers here. Evan is also a Grammy Award-winning songwriter, having worked with music queen Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, Jason Derulo, Rihanna, and Lizzo. Meanwhile, Brad Bogart also serves as producer. He said he wanted to “tease out the hidden histories of the Casablanca days” when the mix of high vibes, creativity, sex, and drugs was a cultural staple.
To honor his father’s legacy, Tim Bogart brought in a posse of hot musical talent for Spinning Gold. He cast Grammy and Golden Globe nominee Wiz Khalifa as George Clinton, multi-Grammy Award winner Ledisi as Gladys Knight, Jason Derulo as Ron Isley, Pink Sweat$ as Bill Withers, and Grammy Award nominee Tayla Parx as the legendary Donna Summer. KISS band members are played by musicians/actors Sam Harris (as Paul Stanley), Casey Likes (as Gene Simmons), and Alex Gaskarth (as Peter Criss).
Jeremy Jordan’s Role of a Lifetime
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Was it intimidating stepping into the Casablanca chief’s shoes? Jeremy Jordan says it wasn’t “daunting at all.” He credits the welcoming filmmaking environment. “And that all started with Tim,” Jordan added. “He was really encouraging to me to find my own way into this character, as opposed to, you know, reproducing, something that could never be reproduced. Because there is so little that the world knows about Neil Bogart, and he died so long ago.”
To be sure, Bogart and his ragtag team of young music lovers took Casablanca Records to great heights. They gave their competitors something new to consider. Casablanca also shifted the ways in which music was produced, forever influencing the music industry thereafter. The label’s mix of “creative insanity,” loyalty, and the music the team was making eventually defined a generation.
“I was kind of lucky, in that all I had to really do was focus on maintaining the essence of this character, and that everything else would sort of fall into place—if I trusted my instincts and followed Tim’s instincts,” noted Jordan. “We created it together.”
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Jordan is no stranger to music, of course. Fans may have loved him in Supergirl, but Jordan is known for his impressive musical chops. He’s previously starred in The Last Five Years, a deep and revealing look at relationships. He also turned heads in Disney’s Newsies: The Broadway Musical! He’s been a soundtrack staple, too, performing songs for shows like Smash, Supergirl, and the Flash, as well a myriad of other theater work.
“I felt really lucky and fortunate to be supported in such a great way in Spinning Gold,” shared Jordan. “Because you go into these things thinking, like, ‘Ah, man, I’m gonna mess something up,’ or it’s just going to be like, ‘Wow, can you just maybe not do it like that!’ And I never felt that way. It gave me the freedom to really create from within.”
The Perfect Time for Spinning Gold?
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Musicals and stories about the music industry became a yummy creative flavor over the last few years, from A Star is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody to the Whitney Houston biopic I Wanna Dance With Somebody, Weird, and Elvis. The TV series Up Here is the latest musical endeavor and Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies, from Paramount+, drops in early April. Jordan and Bogart are candid about why that felt the timing was right for Spinning Gold to hit theaters.
“The underlying to the essence of this film, I think, is about the power and importance of dreaming,” Bogart noted. “And in any decade, in any year, that’s an important message. I certainly think the world needs that more than ever today. I think people have lost the sense of having a little bit of their own power. For a lot of us, this movie is about celebrating that in large and small ways.”
Jordan agreed, adding: “I think anytime we can start to find the truth behind something and capture history is good. And especially stories that might have otherwise gotten lost—so, of course, this is going to be a great time to do it. Music is cyclical. I’ve said this often—that people are always yearning and hungry to rediscover music. I can’t wait for people to rediscover our interpretations of all of these great songs. And that’s good.”
Very good, in fact. Surely not the “last dance” yet.
Spinning Gold opens in theaters March 31.
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