Composer Maury Yeston wrote a clutch of new songs for the big screen adaptation of his ’60s-set Broadway musical, Nine, which concerns an Italian film director — played in the movie by Daniel Day-Lewis — and his tangled web of female relationships. Among those fresh tracks are “Cinema Italiano,” a number that is sung by Kate Hudson’s journalist, and “Take It All.” The latter is performed by Marion Cotillard, who essays the auteur’s wife, and garnered Yeston an Oscar nomination. After the break, Yeston talks about writing this pair of new songs for the latest version of Nine, which is out on DVD tomorrow.
MAURY YESTON: “Cinema Italiano” defines the character that Kate Hudson plays. She is a particularly shallow commentator. She’s not even a film critic, she’s actually a fashion writer for Vogue. She’s sort of ditzy, and she’s throwing around film terms that she doesn’t really understand and sees film in its most superficial aspects. Which is the very last thing this director needs to hear, and it becomes a turning point in the film. Because that’s when he realizes that people often admire him for the wrong reason. And for the very first time he doesn’t sleep with a woman, and he runs back to his wife. The other function of the song is to familiarize some of the younger audience members with the fact that there was a thing called the wave of Italian art films that really was sweeping the world. It’s the music that tells the story. I mean, we don’t call them “talk-sicals,” do we?
“Take It All”
MY: “Take It All” obviously is a far grittier and more emotionally captivating song in which we’ve got a woman finally putting her foot down and walking out on a man. More than that, she’s really visiting upon him a man’s worst nightmare, which is seeing his wife ravaged by another. And so she simultaneously regains her self-respect and devastates him. It features the almost cliched language of stripping and then suddenly, “Do you want my soul?” And a gear turns. It was [Nine director] Rob Marshall’s idea that we should see his wife stripped bare like that. I think Marion Cotillard does a beautiful job.