Idina Menzel Talks ‘Beaches’ Soundtrack, Tackling Bette Midler Role On Lifetime – TCA
by Lisa de Moraes
January 13, 2017 1:15pm
Warner Bros Records released the soundtrack for Lifetime’s remake of Beaches today on iTunes in advance of the movie’s January 21 debut. Beaches features new takes on songs “Wind Beneath My Wings” and “The Glory of Love” as well as “I Can Hear the Music,” “I’ll Stand by You,” and “Last Time” recorded for the movie.
Making the announcement today at TCA, Lifetime programming chief Liz Gateley kicked off the Beaches Q&A reporting that 55% of the network’s scripted programming directors are female, Hollywood’s behind-the-camera diversity (or lack thereof) being a topic of much discussion these days.
Asked how many takes she did to record “Wind Beneath My Wings,” remake star Idina Menzel responded, “I sang it a sh*t load of times” in one recording session. She admitted she’d been familiar with performing the song since she was a wedding singer, noting it also was a bar mitzvah favorite, and that practically every 13 year old boy danced with his mom to the song.
The Beaches panelists predictably got asked to talk about seeing the iconic 1988 Garry Marshall original back in the day. Star Nia Long said it spoke to her about friendships with women being the “thing that keeps you grounded,” while Menzel said she saw the movie in high school with two of her best friends and “cried my eyes out.”
But, being of the Did Not See It demographic, we particularly enjoyed director Allison Anders admitting, “I did not see the movie when it first came out,” coming, as she did, from the “scrappy post-punk” crowd. “So, Hollywood films, I didn’t see that stuff.”
When offered the chance to direct the remake, she said, “I saw Garry Marshall’s Beaches for the first time and I was blown away. I was, ‘Oh my god this is like phenomenal raw art!’ Especially, she said, “compared to what women get to do on the screen presently.”
“It was completely female driven, as ours is; the men had very supporting roles, and the friendship was so messy I was shocked watching it even all these years later.”
When it came to shooting the “last shot,” she said, “I just copied Garry Marshall,” seeing no way to improve on the original.
In July, Lifetime announced it had greenlit the contemporary remake of Marshall’s feature. Menzel plays the role of CC, originated by Bette Midler in the movie; Long plays Hillary Whitney, Barbara Hershey’s old role.
Beaches follows the serendipitous meeting of two youngsters, CC and Hillary, on the Venice Boardwalk, who, though worlds apart in lifestyle, embark on an unexpected and lifelong friendship. Menzel’s CC is an aspiring singer, while Long’s Hillary is the daughter of a prominent civil rights lawyer who struggles to find her own destiny.