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kottke.org posts about Boogie Nights

First draft of Boogie Nights script rejected

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 07, 2016

When P.T. Anderson submitted the first draft of his script for Boogie Nights, the studio didn’t think too much of it.

Boogie Nights

Boogie Nights is one of my favorite films. I’m glad Anderson stuck with it.

Michael Jackson’s prototype of Thriller

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 23, 2016

When the song that became Thriller was first considered for the album that also became Thriller, it was called Starlight and had totally different lyrics.

We need some starlight starlight sun
There ain’t no second chance we got to make it while we can
You need the starlight some starlight sun
I need you by my side you give me starlight starlight tonight yeah

Songwriter Rod Temperton explains:

Originally, when I did my Thriller demo, I called it Starlight. Quincy said to me, ‘You managed to come up with a title for the last album, see what you can do for this album.’ I said, ‘Oh great,’ so I went back to the hotel, wrote two or three hundred titles, and came up with the title ‘Midnight Man’. The next morning, I woke up, and I just said this word… Something in my head just said, this is the title. You could visualise it on the top of the Billboard charts. You could see the merchandising for this one word, how it jumped off the page as ‘Thriller’.

That story reminds me of the scene in the hot tub in Boogie Nights where Eddie Adams chooses his stage name:

I just want a name, I want it so it can cut glass, you know, like razor sharp. When I close my eyes, I see this thing, a sign. I see this name in bright blue neon lights with a purple outline. And this name is so bright and so sharp that the sign — it just blows up because the name is so powerful … It says “Dirk Diggler.”

Thriller and Dirk Diggler. Both great names. (via @aaroncoleman0)

An oral history of Boogie Nights

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 10, 2014

Every once in awhile on the site, I’ll use the phrase “in my wheelhouse”, meaning something that is particularly interesting to me. Well, Grantland’s long oral history of the making of Boogie Nights is so in my wheelhouse that I might be the captain.

When [Anderson] set out to film Boogie Nights, it was with a resolve bordering on arrogance. Compromise wasn’t part of the plan. Still, after an intense production and postproduction period — one in which the director had to manage a cranky, confused Burt Reynolds and an untested, rapping underwear model named Mark Wahlberg — Anderson was forced once again to fight studio heads for his cut of the film.

But Anderson’s vision prevailed this time. Nearly 20 years later, Boogie Nights endures. For its beautiful portrait of nontraditional families; for Reynolds and Wahlberg, the surrogate father and son, who were never better; for Philip Seymour Hoffman, squeezing into character and breaking hearts; for its prodigy director sticking to his guns and nailing it; for John C. Reilly’s hot-tub poetry; for Roller Girl. Is everybody ready? This is the making and near unmaking of Boogie Nights.

Man, I love that movie. But think on this: Leonardo DiCaprio as Dirk Diggler, Drew Barrymore as Roller Girl, and Bill Murray as Jack Horner.