Film Facts: 10 Things You Might Not Know About Sia’s Directorial Debut, Music
IT IS SIA’S first venture into the world of film, and Music (starring actress and dancer Maddie Ziegler and award winner Kate Hudson) has delighted fans with it’s emotional storyline, powerful soundtrack and colourful energy. A heartfelt story, Music explores themes of loss, grief and barriers, using Sia’s music as a catalyst for the unfolding drama.
Nominated for two Golden Globes in this year’s ceremony, Music has already made a huge impact on it’s audience.
Read on to discover 10 facts about the motion picture.
Music was not intended to be a motion picture. It originated as a short, one-paged story that Sia herself wrote in 2007. Over the years she expanded on the storyline and themes and conceptualised the character of Music until she realised she had enough material to carve it into a full length film. Music was her directorial debut.
Sia asked the cast to watch the 2011 film The Intouchables before the filming of Music began. Directed by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano and starring Omar Sky, the film depicts the relationship between one man and his caregiver. The film was a box office success, and Sia wanted her cast to be inspired by the project.
Budget Blew Up
Music was not originally intended to be a musical — however friends assured her it would be a big mistake if she didn’t create songs to accompany the narrative. With her decision to add several impressive tracks to the motion picture, Music went from a modest $4 million dollar budget to a whopping $16 million. The soundtrack was released on 12th February, and the album includes songs from the film as well as original tracks not featured in the movie.
Sia Makes An Appearance
Did you know Sia herself decided to star in one scene during the movie? Wrapped in a dressing gown, face covered with a skin-mask, Sia is approached by the character Zu (played beautifully by Kate Hudson) and enters a brief exchange. Sia later describes the part she plays with good-natured humour: her character, in her own words, was a “classically over the top w*nker.”
A Good Friend
During promotional interview appearances, Sia confirmed that the central character was based on a good friend of hers, who is on the autism spectrum. Having been inspired by her friendship, she created the character Music on him, and he is seen heavily in Ziegler’s sensitive depiction.
Dress to Impress
Evidently, her talents don’t end with music: Sia designed and drew the costumes for the film herself. She passed on all her ideas to designer Christine Wade who then created them based on Sia’s visions.
Sia wanted an accurate portrayal of a low functioning individual with autism, and so after the film was completed, she sent it to The Child Mind Institute. The CMI — an independent, non-profit organisation who work with children and families to give them the support they need — gave actress Maddie Ziegler a 100% rating for the depiction of the character, Music. “We both cried that day,” Sia later recalled.
Sia said that she had been inspired to create a film after watching the musical La La Land. A 2016 musical drama, La La Land — directed by Damien Chazelle and starring Ryan Gosling — became a favourite of the singer and it spurred on her dreams of creating some movie magic of her own.
Sia didn’t write the screenplay for Music herself — Dallas Clayton co-wrote it with her. An illustrator and children’s author, Clayton began writing after the birth of his son in back in 2013. He went on to pen several successful children’s novels and Sia has praised the immense quality of his contribution to the script.
As Sia cast her long-time muse, the talented Maddie Ziegler in the central role in Music after the original autistic actress found the experience of filming to be stressful, she wanted to ensure her film was still inclusive, and reportedly hired thirteen neuroatypical cast and crew members to help on the project.