If you were among the thousands who saw "August Rush" during the Thanksgiving holiday - the Warner Bros. film finished No. 7 at the box office for the week ended Nov. 25, according to the
- you heard the fruits of Anastasia Brown's labor. The movie, which stars Keri Russell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Robin Williams, among others, is the tale of an orphaned musical prodigy who believes he will find his musician parents if they only hear his music.
To explain the importance of Brown's work as one of two music supervisors for the film, it's important to know that all but 60 seconds of the movie contain music. And unlike many movies, in which music is placed after filming is complete, the score for "August Rush" had to be completed before filming could begin. "Every movie is different, but traditionally you do most of your work during postproduction and you select songs at that time with the producer and director," Brown says. "But with this film, we started working on music before the film was even cast."
The process took Brown and fellow supervisor Julia Michaels nearly three years. Brown worked to cast all the on-screen musicians, produced all performances that are seen in the film, cast the songwriters who wrote the original music, took Rhys Meyers into the studio and hired Phil Ramone to produce the music. She also arranged for vocal and/or instrument lessons for the cast. "Everyone onscreen who performs is actually playing an instrument," she said. "We brought in guitar and organ teachers for our lead actors."
Brown also executive-produced the soundtrack. Rhys Myers covers Van Morrison's "Moondance" in the movie, while Botti and Cole duet on the Billie Holiday classic "God Bless the Child."
"Some of the most amazing songs we couldn't use because it's a two-hour movie," Brown said.
The wife of Music Row producer Tony Brown (George Strait, Reba McEntire), Brown has made her own path in the music community. She started her career as Miles Copeland's partner and director of operations for Firstars Nashvilleand was vice president of A&R for Copeland's Ark 21 Nashville.
While attending the Nashville Screenwriters Conference in 2002, Brown got bitten by the music supervision bug and convinced Les Bohem, one of its organizers and a Hollywood screenwriter/producer, to give her a shot. He hired her for "Taken," a 40-hour miniseries he was working on with Steven Spielberg. Brown also secured a soundtrack deal for the series.