Mostly Bobby Darin
YOUR GUIDE TO MOVIES, TV, BOOKS & ARTS IN CYBERSPACE
by CHRISSY PERSICO
7 March 2004
New York Daily News
As a child, Bronx-born Robert Walden Cassotto was struck with rheumatic fever, a disease that left him with a weak heart. But this obstacle only fueled his ambition, prompting him to succeed in show business as Bobby Darin, ’50s teen idol and the voice of such hits as “Splish Splash,” “Dream Lover” and “Mack the Knife.”
“Beyond the Sea,” a biopic of Darin (1936-73), is currently in postproduction. It was directed by Kevin Spacey, who also stars as the singer/actor; Kate Bosworth co-stars as actress Sandra Dee, Darin’s wife from 1960 to 1967. See http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0363473 for more details.
“The Legendary Bobby Darin” ( http://www.bobbydarin.net/) is an excellent resource for fans, from basic background on Darin to colorful tidbits about his life. The upcoming “Beyond the Sea” is big news on the site, expressed in a posted note from Darin’s son, Dodd, who writes how thrilled he is about the project.
A link to Spacey’s Web site (www.drivingmrspacey.com/BobbyDarin.htm) contains a convincing photo of the actor as Darin, notes from the set and biographical information about Darin for Spacey fans who may not be familiar with his career. **That link no longer exists but it used to take you to the BTS News page which can now be found here.
Alongside its detailed filmography and discography, “The Legendary Bobby Darin” includes archives of vintage magazine and newspaper articles. A 1969 clip from Beyond magazine describes Darin’s mystical experience at the grave of Sen. Robert Kennedy, for whom he campaigned and whose death inspired him to write and record two alternative rock protest albums in the late ’60s.
On a more lighthearted note, there’s also Darin’s recipe for “special spinach” (hint: it’s frozen) from 1967’s Singers & Swingers in the Kitchen.” There are also fun vintage photos of Darin with fans, performing at Freedomland in the Bronx and on American Bandstand with a youthful Dick Clark.
Romantics will appreciate the page dedicated to his lovers (Connie Francis among them). And another link is dedicated to Darin references in pop culture, from “Leave It to Beaver” and “The Sopranos” to a McDonald’s commercial.
Read about Darin’s 1970s television variety show, “The Bobby Darin Amusement Party” on TV Party (www.tvparty.com/darin.html). The same page contains a link to an essay by Darin’s guitarist, who writes about Darin’s last performance, during which he was ill but kept fans in the dark by faking bows and exits to revive himself backstage with the help of an oxygen tank.
Darin was a mentor to fellow Vegas crooner Wayne Newton, whom he encouraged to record the hit tune “Danke Schoen.” Read about their relationship on “Wayne and Bobby Darin” (http://www.celebhost.net/.)
The Covers Project ( www.coversproject.com/artist/Bobby+Darin) lists songs covered by Darin, from the Stones’ “Back Street Girl” to Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.”
Though Darin’s music gave listeners the feeling that life was good, it had thrown him some curve balls. At the age of 32, he discovered that his “mother” Polly was really his grandmother, and his “sister” Nina was his actual mother. Read more about his bittersweet life at (www.history-of-rock.com/bobby_darin.htm).
For a pick-me-up, check out the “Mack the Knife” lyrics page of “The Legendary Bobby Darin” ( http://www.bobbydarin.net/macklyrics.html). From the words themselves – “So there’s nevah, nevah a trace of red” – to streaming video of Darin’s outrageous dance moves, it’ll have you shouting “Look out! Old Macky is back!” before you know it.
Caption: BOBBY DARIN
The San Francisco Chronicle Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx get things rockin’ at Toronto International Film Festival
Ruth Stein, Chronicle Senior Movie Writer September 14, 2004
Toronto — What began as just another of the nonstop parties at the Toronto International Film Festival turned into a historic musical event. Ray Charles sang a duet with Bobby Darin. Sort of.
Past midnight Sunday, as Jamie Foxx and friends celebrated his performance as Charles in “Ray,” Foxx saw Kevin Spacey, fresh from a screening of his Darin biopic, “Beyond the Sea,” come in. Spacey yelled, “Yo, hidey, hidey, hidey, ho,” then grabbed the mike and started singing the Darin standby “Splish Splash,” accompanied by Foxx, an accomplished pianist. Before it was over, both Spacey and Foxx had jumped up on the piano, where they belted out the rest of the song together.
Darin and Charles came up around the same time in the 1950s. They cut what were among their first 45s on successive days at Atco Records, and Darin paid tribute to the great man in an album, “Bobby Darin Sings Ray Charles.”
In a reversal of their screen roles, Foxx paid tribute to Spacey, telling me that he was honored that the two-time Oscar winner took the time to attend the bash. “It was like when Tom Cruise showed up for my birthday party.”
Spacey made a dramatic entrance at the party for his film, which he directed and co-produced as well as stars in. Greeted by a barrage of TV and flash cameras and an outburst of applause, he strutted in, waving like a politician, to Darin singing, “Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home.” A wall at the downtown restaurant was plastered with Darin’s 45s, now collector’s items.
But that’s Spacey, not the subject of his movie, singing in “Beyond the Sea.”
As Spacey explained to me at 8:20 the next morning, looking impressively bright-eyed for someone who hadn’t gotten much sleep, he insisted on doing “Mack the Knife” and other standards himself over the initial objection of Darin’s old manager, who said, “Over my dead body will someone else sing Bobby’s songs.”
Spacey’s spot-on impersonation of the mercurial singer — who died of heart problems 30 years ago at age 37 — brings him eerily back to life.
Spacey is so into it that he plans a 12-city live tour of Darin’s music in connection with the release of “Beyond the Sea” later this year. “San Francisco will definitely be one of my stops,” he promised, adding he was checking out 1,400- to 1,800-seat venues. “I don’t want anything larger because I’m not sure how many people remember Darin,” said Spacey, who hopes to jog their memories with a CD from the movie. (As soon as a local concert date is set, I’ll let you know in my Movie Insider column.)
The actor is hardly new to singing. As a kid, he used to croon Darin’s songs into a hairbrush. “What a lot of people don’t realize is that I did dozens of musicals from the age of 13 to 22.” The multitalented Spacey hopped on a plane Monday to return to London’s Old Vic, which he now runs, to direct a new Dutch play.
Kevin walks in his idol’s footsteps
Jazz with Barry Ralph
03 January 2004
The Gold Coast Bulletin
BOBBY Darin was an incomparable performer whose versatility allowed him to work with everybody from Buddy Holly to Count Basie. Darin, who died 30 years ago on December 20, was always a young man in a hurry. Within 14 years he wrote 163 songs, recorded 486, played in 14 films and was nominated for an Academy Award as best supporting actor. He also found time to create his own music publishing company and to marry Sandra Dee. Darin’s life-long nemesis was his health. As a young child he suffered from articular rheumatism, which severely damaged his heart. Doctors said that he would be lucky to live until he was 15. Darin lived until 37, but he had been on borrowed time.Dodd Darin has been trying to create a film treatment on his father’s life since 1986. It is now becoming a reality. The reason why the film is being made is because the project has become a labour of love for one of the world’s most accomplished actors – Kevin Spacey. “I grew up with Bobby’s music. He was my biggest star”, says Spacey, who bought the rights to the property two years ago.
“Bobby wrote and performed rock ‘n’ roll and always re-invited himself’.”His music set the tone for three decades.” Spacey’s company, Trigger Street Productions, will make the film with the support of the Darin family. “Kevin’s passion for the film is overwhelming and it has consumed us as well,” Dodd Darin says.
Spacey will star and produce the film. He will also direct. “It’s out of necessity,” he says. “No other director was interested.” Although Darin died in his 30s, he was an established superstar at 25. Spacey, who turned 44 last July, remains unconcerned about the age difference. “Bobby always looked a little older”, he says, “but if I waited any more I might be too old.” The age dilemma was not the only contentious issue with the film. Observers and the Darin family naturally assumed that Bobby’s voice would be used for the soundtrack. In October this year, at the Abbey Road Studios in London, Kevin Spacey recorded the musical numbers to be used in the film.
“I’ve been training my voice for years,” Spacey says. “It cannot be an imitation, that would be flat.” “My goal is that the audience asks: Is this Bobby or is it Kevin?” The casting was a major challenge. Bob Hoskins and Brenda Blethyn will play Darin’s parents and John
Goodman will play his manager. Drew Barrymore was originally approached for the choice role of Sandra Dee, but Reece Witherspoon was preferred by Dee herself. Neither accepted the role. Twenty-year-old Blue Crush surfer-chick, Kate Bosworth, who had never heard of Bobby Darin, will play alongside Spacey. Early reports suggest that she looks more like his daughter. Spacey’s film will be called Beyond The Sea, after one of Darin’s big hits.
Skeptics may question the film’s credibility, but one has to consider that it is inspired by one the world’s great talents and features one of the world’s great actors. Many believed that the film would never be made. However, on November 10, at the Marlene Dietrich Studio in Babelsberg, Germany, Kevin Spacey fulfilled his life-long ambition. The first scene for Beyond the Sea was shot. Spacey, dressed in a bright yellow 60s suit dances with his Sandra Dee, to a romantic version of the title song. Stacey yells cut and asks: “Did we capture the right angles?” He will be more concerned about capturing an audience when his film opens in late 2004.
(c) 2004 Nationwide News Pty Limited