What is there to say about Jon Brion that you don’t already know (or should know)? A whipsmart songwriter, a dazzling musician (his live shows are legendary), an encyclopedia of music knowledge and history, and a producer extraordinaire who has worked with everyone from Kanye West to Brad Mehldau to Fiona Apple (his unreleased version of her Extraordinary Machine album is worth tracking down). But of course, movie fans know him best for his scoring gigs, memorably tuning up Paul Thomas Anderson‘s first four films, but he’s also done far more mainstream gigs, leaning on comedies like “The Break-Up,” “The Other Guys” and “Step Brothers.” Well, Judd Apatow, who served as a producer on the latter film, is re-upping Brion for his next effort behind the camera.
“This Is 40” will now have the talents of Brion, who has been brought on to score the film. It will be interesting to see how much Brion we actually get since in his past films, Apatow tends to go wall-to-wall with pop music (remember this list of all the songs in “Knocked Up“?). However, Apatow’s films have been shifting more toward drama than comedy, and with his next effort catching up with Pete and Debbie from “Knocked Up,” and with a title evoking a reflective mood on middle age, we wonder (and maybe hope) if Brion will write an original song as well. After all, “Little Person” summed up everything Charlie Kaufman wanted to say in “Synechdoche, New York” better than the movie wound up doing.
“I started thinking about writing a movie about a family and their midlife crisis, and then I realized I already have that family in one of my movies and I like them. Why do I have to meet new actors? I can use these amazing actors that people seem to like and were interested in learning more about and it came out really well,” Apatow recently told IFC about his forthcoming film.
As for the cast, it features a familiar handful of Apatow regulars (Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Charlyne Yi, Jason Segel) with a batch of new faces (Megan Fox, Albert Brooks, Melissa McCarthy, Lena Dunham, Robert Smigel, John Lithgow), including Chris O’Dowd (who along with McCarthy, featured in the Apatow-produced “Bridesmaids“). Plot details have been under wraps — the general logline follows Pete struggling within the waning music business, with Debbie now becoming the breadwinner via her dress shop — but talking with the Independent last month, O’Dowd revealed, “I play a pretentious guy in the music industry, who thinks everything is terrible because he can’t get laid.”
Still a bit of a wait for this one — it will hit theaters on December 21st. But if you need a Brion fix sooner, he’s also scoring the upcoming 3D animated “ParaNorman.” [FilmMusicReporter]