‘Sound of Metal' Oscar-Nominated Producer Bert Hamelinck’s Caviar Made the Movie Financially Possible
Nominated for six titles including the Best Picture of the Year at the ‘93rd Academy Awards’, Sound of Metal has been critically acclaimed. However, it was difficult for the writers and directors to make the movie and release it. The award-winning entertainment company, Caviar, helped them find partners and make the movie.
Journey to ‘Sound of Metal’
The journey to Sound of Metal was not an easy one. In an interview with Screen, the filmmakers talked about the difficulties they had to face to make this movie a success.
Derek Cianfrance, who wrote the plot of the movie, was passionate about drums since his childhood. He eventually graduated to playing heavy metal and was always encouraged by his family. He told the Screen that he had the idea to make a movie called Metalhead, even though he didn’t know what it would be about.
Inspired by his own casualties of damaging his hearing during his drumming days, the storyline for Metalhead came to him in 2007. He wrote a story about a heavy metal drummer who blew his eardrums and went to live in the land of the deaf. The drummer would raise money for his cochlear implants and get one however would later go back to the deaf community, ripping off his implants.
Initially, he tried making Metalhead a docu-fiction featuring a real-life heavy metal duo Jucifer’s Edgar Livengood and Gazelle Amber Valentine, however; it didn’t work out.
In 2008, Cianfrance met Darius Marder at a children’s birthday where they immediately hit it off. Impressed with each other, Darius joined Cianfrance as co-writer for Metalhead. However, after Cianfrance’s movie The Place Beyond The Pines premiered at Toronto International Film Festival in September 2012, he left the Metalhead and handed everything to Darius.
With the recast of the actors and Darius’s brother Abraham Marder joining the writing squad, the writing of the screenplay started full-fledged. Darius started finding and adding producers along with the cast to their movie — Metalhead changed to Sound of Metal.
However, it was easier said than done. He had difficulties finding proper financiers who were willing to contribute something to the movie.
Darius also accused Hollywood of not supporting the theme of the movie. He claimed Hollywood didn’t want to head about heavy metal and deaf people, although it claimed to be representing such fields.
Darius had cast roles and calculated the budget, but it didn’t work. It was Caviar that made the movie possible. With new producers, the managing director of Caviar, Bert Hamelinck, and Sacha Ben Harroche, Sound of Metal had some hope.
Harroche took the script, broke it down, and cut off around one-third of the budget without altering the creative aspect of the movie. Darius was worried about the unlucky history of the movie, however, Caviar ignored that aspect.
Hamelinck told the Screen that if the script is good and they liked the talent, they just go for it since there is no point in looking at the past. In addition to that, Harroche said that they just fell in love with the story.
“We knew right away this was a very special high concept, about a musician losing his hearing. We just fell in love with the story.”
Caviar parted ways with Matthias Schoenaerts and Dakota Johnson, who were initially cast to play the lead roles and were replaced by Riz Ahmed and Olivia Cooke.
After they started shooting in 2018, Darius still had a problem with other financiers’ demands. He said that they were in a very tough position since the financiers started imposing new demands. With no willingness to compromise, it was a tough situation for everyone involved in the movie.
However, in a desperate attempt to save the project, Marder called his friends Bill Benz and Kathy Benz who luckily agreed to finance the movie and joined Hamelinck and Harroche in the producer’s crew.
Finally, after 13 years of struggle, Sound Of Metal premiered in Toronto in 2019, which was later acquired by Amazon Studios. Currently, it has garnered over 158 nominations and 66 wins altogether and has been nominated for the Oscars in 6 categories.