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all of those questions we would ask about the character and who he was.
You know that Bad Blake line, “I used to be somebody, now I am somebody else?
[Laughs.] I certainly loved him in Tender Mercies, and knew he had a real affinity for country music.
So I thought we’d have a shot at making a good low-budget movie, like a ’70s art film. ” And I said, “Well, if it was something you’d want to do, I would definitely want to do it,” and he said, “If you’ll do it, I’ll do it.” [Laughs.] We made like a schoolboy pact. We shot it in 25 days, and wrote and worked for probably five months ahead of shooting it. I don’t really try to enforce my will on these things, but rather just seek what works.
We were going to do it for very little money, and really quickly. From there, I called Brian Philips at CMT, because I knew CMT had produced and released a George Strait movie that did under a million dollars at the box office, but played 150 times on CMT and sold 9 million DVDs. AVC: When you work on the music for a movie like Crazy Heart or one of the Coen brothers’ movies, how much freedom do you have to do what you want? TB: Well, I’ve been in the lucky position of having started with the Coen brothers, and of all filmmakers, they’re the most graceful at reaching a consensus. So the answer is, I’ve always had tremendous freedom to try to find the good thing.I think Scott asked me to call Jeff, because we didn’t have anybody to do it, so I called Jeff to see if he liked the script. And those are all record-business numbers, so I don’t know what the actual numbers are. AVC: Do you try to use the songs—whether you write them or just pick them—to express something about the characters that isn’t already in the script?