Nick Cave is busy making a docu-drama called 20,000 Days On Earth which is going to be a fictionalized version of a day in his life.
The film, which also features Kylie Minogue and Ray Winstone, is being made by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard who first worked with Cave on the video for his 2008 single Dig! Lazarus Dig!
They began shooting the documentary during Nick Cave’s 15th album with the Bad Seeds.
“They filmed everything,” said Cave. “They had a camera set up in my office when I’m just writing the first lines of things, picking out the first melodies on the piano. That’s kind of why I let this go in the first place because you just don’t have cameras on bands doing the actual thing. In the past, I’ve let cameras into the studio, but we’ve basically already finished the record. So you get shots of people sitting around in the control booth, listening to music.”
“I’m extremely reluctant to be filmed. But I trusted Iain and Jane enough to give them complete access to the studio and they’ve just expanded the idea into a feature-length, cinematic-style documentary. The thing is, they presented something that wasn’t just telling the Nick Cave story we do or do not know. It’s their idea. I’m just sort of being blindly told what to do.”
It does sound as if the filmmakers do respect Cave’s privacy and the film promises to be different from other documentaries.
The film tells the story of a fictionalised day in his life, filled with scenes devised by Forsyth and Pollard “as kind of constructed real situations in which Nick can improvise, we don’t script at all”: writing in his office, having lunch with his main songwriting collaborator Warren Ellis, and visiting the Nick Cave Archive.
“The thing that seems so kind of prevalent in contemporary music docs is that they’re all about getting behind something, revealing something, taking away the mask, taking away the myth,” said Forsyth. “The important thing for us was not breaking the mythology.”
The name of the film comes from an unused line in Cave’s songwriting notebook, in which the singer had worked out that he was precisely 20,000 days old when work on Push the Sky Away began.
Nick Cave does seem to be enjoying the idea.
“I really like the idea behind the documentary, even though some of the scenes are kind of terrifying. There’s a lovely balance between what’s set up and what’s ad-libbed. Scenarios are set up and then allowed to run in a free, unrehearsed way. There’s something about the way they go about things, you don’t really notice the cameras.”
Check out the official site.