In 1979, less than 10 years since the death of Janis Joplin, a (still relatively) unknown Bette Midler charmed the world with her acting debut in The Rose. The film, directed by Mark Rydell and co-starring Alan Bates, was a huge success and made it to the Oscars as a favorite in several categories, including Best Actress. It was openly inspired by Janis’ journey, without being literally a biopic.
Initially, The Rose was to have been Pearl, the name of Janis’ last album (and her nickname), but the singer’s family opposed the “homage” and so the story became Mary Rose Foster, the biggest star of the rock and roll of her time. Rose struggles with addictions to drink, drugs, and fame, all of which contribute to a painful and agonizing loneliness. A perfect vehicle for the charismatic Bette Midler, who lost her Oscar to Sally Field with Norma Rae.
Now, 42 years later, The Rose is getting a remake. The announcement was made this week, with Cynthia Erivo in the lead role. The actress, who already has an Oscar nomination and is a Tony, Emmy, and Grammy winner, is a perfect choice. According to her, the script will have a contemporary vision for the pressure of success. The challenge is not small since the original is one of the rare films considered “perfect”: from the soundtrack, performances, and script.
Cynthia, who has just been praised as Aretha Franklin in the miniseries Genius: Aretha, is also in the remake of Pinocchio, as the Blue Fairy. One imagines that of all the hits from the original The Rose, which includes When A Man Loves A Woman and Stay With Me, the title song – which closes the film – is retained.
Because it was written two years before the film and became an American classic, The Rose was not nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song. Bette Midler keeps it in her repertoire to this day. Composed by Amanda McBroom in just 45 minutes under pressure to please her manager, The Rose was personally chosen by Bette from 30 options. It became one of the most-played songs of 1979, selling over a million copies and earning the singer a Grammy. The song will be perfect in Cynthia’s voice. Now to wait until 2023!
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