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More Re-Shoots on Long-in-Development Buddy Bolden Biopic + Director Has Reportedly Spent Over $100 Million on the Project!

More Re-Shoots on Long-in-Development Buddy Bolden Biopic + Director Has Reportedly Spent Over $100 Million on the Project!

It’s a project that’s long been in development (at least 8 years) – first with Anthony Mackie attached to star, but he eventually exited, telling us when we interviewed him 2 years ago, while he was on “Pain & Gain” press junket duties: “I’m not sure what’s going on with ‘Bolden.’ It’s been 6 years, so I’ve decided I was finished.”
Mackie was eventually replaced last year, by the British actor who played “Downton Abbey’s” first black character, Gary Carr. Later in the year, Yaya DaCosta and Nelsan Ellis were added to the project’s cast, but it still wasn’t clear that production on the film would begin anytime soon, given how long it had been in Limbo – especially when the director of the film, jazz lover, musician and Hyatt hotel heir, Dan Pritzker, said in an interview a couple of years ago, that he was in no rush to complete it, adding that it was (is) a passion project for him, and his goal is to make the best film possible.
“If I were doing this to make money, I wouldn’t have made a movie. I’m not a filmmaker,” he said at the time, adding that, if the film doesn’t make any money, “It won’t affect my life.”
Easy to say when you’re heir to billions of dollars!

This is Pritzker’s third attempt to get the film made. “I’m trying to do something I hope is worthy of the subject,” he said in an interview with Newsweek last year.

In 2007, he did begin filming, with Anthony Mackie, Wendell Pierce and Jackie Earle Haley starring. But, apparently unhappy with the results, he undertook extensive reshoots in 2009, 2 years later. Still unhappy, and with on-set conflicts due to him not being able to capture the movie he had in his head, Pritzker put the project aside. And years later, he came back to it with a fresh outlook, and cast Carr as the title character. 

I can only imagine how much money has been poured into this over the years.

But, as of my last post on the project, earlier this year, it appeared that principal photography was in its final days – obviously a good thing for all those involved, and for audiences who’ve been waiting for the film! I even received a casting notice for the project, calling for African American men for an asylum scene, that will be filmed in North Carolina, which I shred here.

Apparently shooting actually wrapped last fall, and what they were filming earlier this year were pick-ups – some exteriors, club scenes in Preservation Hall, the asylum, etc; and once that was all done, post-production would’ve begun, as this long journey finally seemed like it was coming to its end.

But not-so fast! 

In a report from industry journalist Roger Friedman, who has been reporting on this project for years, Pritzker is re-shooting certain scenes all over again! Apparently, Carr is still playing Bolden, but the film covers the jazz musician’s life into old age, and Pritzker isn’t too pleased with how Carr looks after being aged with make-up, and the director is now back on the audition trail, looking for an actor to play Bolden in his older years – at age 65. So he’s looking for an actor who looks like Carr would look at age 65, which could take a long time to find.

Friedman also says that Pritzker has spent “well over $100 million” on this single project, which, if true, is absolutely astounding! Even more-so when you consider that the film likely won’t make much money at all – certainly not $100 million. That’s like blockbuster funding! But when you’re worth a reported $2.2 billion, I guess shedding $100 million of it won’t break you! 

At this rate, the film won’t be done until 2016, at the earliest. 

Alongside Gary Carr, DaCosta and Ellis, ‘Bolden’s’ cast also includes Ian McShane and Michael Rooker, although no word on what roles exactly each of them has signed up to play.

Pritzker said he first heard of Buddy Bolden through a radio station manager back in 1996, and was inspired by his life then and there.

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