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Born to Screen: Bruce Springsteen's 'Western Stars' film gets wide theatrical release today

Written by on October 25, 2019

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Warner Bros. PicturesBruce Springsteen‘s Western Stars movie gets a wide theatrical release today, after being shown in select theaters across North America on October 19 and 23.

As previously reported, the film features Springsteen performing all 13 songs from his latest album, Western Stars, in front of a small audience in a barn at his New Jersey residence. He’s accompanied by a 30-piece orchestra and some of the musicians who contributed to the record, including his wife, E Street Band backing singer Patti Scialfa.

Interspersed between the performances, the film features archival home movies and new footage capturing the Boss at Joshua Tree National Park, accompanied by Bruce’s narration as he muses on themes he tackled in Western Stars‘ songs.

During an interview at the BFI London Film Festival this month, Springsteen — who co-directed Western Stars with frequent collaborator Thom Zimny — explained how the concept for the project came together.

“I knew I wasn’t going to tour [behind the Western Stars album], so I said, ‘Well…maybe we could just film a concert,'” he noted. “But I said, ‘It was new music, so how am I going to introduce people to the internal life of the songs?’ And so that led to writing a script, which is all the spoken pieces, and then filming the interstitial pieces…out in the Southwest, [at] Joshua Tree.”

Zimny recalled that he’d been editing the concert footage when Springsteen let him know he’d written a script, which, the filmmaker said, “was the moment I knew the film had just changed.” Added Bruce, “Those pieces really ended up turning it into a film rather than a concert picture.”

The Western Stars soundtrack, which features live versions of the album’s songs, plus a cover of the Glen Campbell hit “Rhinestone Cowboy,” also gets released today.

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[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGqjav-KbDU&w=640&h=360] [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXzmRnGuyS8&w=640&h=360]

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