Christopher Walken and Amber Heard are showing off their impressive vocals in writer-director Robert Edwards’ “When I Live My Life Over Again,” a father-daughter musical drama screening at the Tribeca Film Festival. Singing on screen is nothing new for the multi-talented Walken, but Heard has never lent her vocals to a project before and she makes quite an accomplished debut. Could the two end up performing at next year’s Oscars if the film and songs catch fire? It’s definitely a possibility.
The drama centers on cash-strapped Jude (Heard) as she heads to the home of her father (Walken), an over-the-hill crooner desperately charting his musical comeback. After several days, she soon recalls that spending time at home with her father presents its own particular set of challenges. The original songs in the film are written by Edwards and composed by Joe McGinty, best known as the keyboardist for The Psychedelic Furs.
Heard’s “Montreal” is an emotional ballad that helps build her character’s unseen history. “This is a song I wrote with my brother, who is a musician and songwriter/composer based in Tokyo,” Edwards explained to Indiewire. “I was interested in telling a story where the protagonist alludes to some vague but important event in his or her life without ever telling us exactly what happened, only where. I’ve never even been to Montreal, except the airport. I gave Joe a demo with just acoustic guitar and some thoughts on how I imagined it, and he did the radically different arrangement that’s in the movie.”
Walken, on the other hand, handles the film’s brassy title track, which McGinty composed three different arrangements for. As Edwards told Indiewire, “I wrote the lyrics as part of the script several years ago. Obviously, this is meant to be a song Paul wrote, so it had to be in his ‘voice’ as a songwriter. I wanted it to be a little bit kitsch, which helps tee up the moment late in the film when Jude re-interprets the song. Lyrically, I was thinking about the idea of regrets—especially for an older person, especially one who is carrying around some bitterness late in life—and of the absence of second chances, and of living vicariously through your children.”
Listen to the two original songs below:
“Montreal,” Performed by Amber Heard:
“When I Live My Life (Big Band),” Performed by Christopher Walken: