In the first clip from writer/director Robert Budreau’s unconventional biopic of the American musician, a “reimagining… not [of] what was, but what could have been,” as the actor told Variety earlier this year, Baker dazzles his listeners with a melancholy, down-tempo rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
After his rise to fame in the 1950s, Baker—handsome enough to draw attention
from the Hollywood studios and talented enough as a singer to draw
comparisons with Frank Sinatra—struggled with heroin addiction; in “Born to Be Blue,” which premieres in Toronto this month, his troubles threaten to undermine his recovery. The film’s focus is Baker’s comeback following a 1968 assault which left him without his front teeth, and thus without the ability to play his instrument. (Hawke not only learned to play the trumpet for the film, but also performs his own vocals.) Carmen Ejogo (“Selma”) co-stars as Baker’s partner.
Check out the clip from “Born to Be Blue” and Budreau’s 2009 short “The Deaths of Chet Baker” below.