ZOO Station: U2 Centraal

Million Dollar Hotel Coming Stateside
Matthew Anderson, ZooNation News
September 4, 2000

After months of anticipation, Bonophiles residing stateside will finally get their chance to check in to The Million Dollar Hotel when Lions Gate Films releases the movie in the first quarter of 2001.

Million Dollar Hotel

While reports have been circulating regarding a February 2001 release, Lions Gate has only recently acquired the rights to the movie and, according to a spokesperson at the distributor, specifics regarding the scale of the release and its release date are still in the works.

The film, produced by Mel Gibson's Icon production company, is based on a story by U2's lead singer, Bono. Starring Milla Jovovich (The Fifth Element) and Jeremy Davies (Saving Private Ryan), along with Gibson, who plays a future-day FBI agent, The Million Dollar Hotel won the Silver Berlin Bear award at the 50th Berlin Film Festival this past February.

Bono described the film to Propaganda, calling it "a dysfunctional love story, a fable about the power of love".

Adding to the intrigue, the backdrop for this love story is a dodgy part of downtown Los Angeles, in a hotel housing society's misfits, deadbeats, and mentally ill.

"Ostensibly a murder mystery," Michael Dwyer commented in his Irish Times review of the film, "The Million Dollar Hotel gradually reveals itself, rather ponderously in its expository sequences, as a series of inter-connected and stylized character studies which eventually mesh together in an absorbing picture of thwarted aspirations and self-destructive behavior."

The screenplay, originally conceived as a stage play, was a decade-long pet project for Bono and afforded the singer the opportunity to collaborate on a whole new level with director Wim Wenders, whose most acclaimed films are Paris, Texas, Wings of Desire, and the recent Academy Award nominee, Buena Vista Social Club.

The Wenders-U2 relationship began when the director helmed the video for U2's cover of the Cole Porter tune Night and Day in 1990. In turn, U2 has supplied music for the soundtracks of such Wenders films as Far Away, So Close, Until the End of the World, and The End of Violence.

The soundtrack for The Million Dollar Hotel was released in March to mostly favorable reviews, but was overlooked by the general public, making its debut at number 104 on Billboard's Top 200.

While the lack of a film distributor in the U.S. certainly didn't help matters, it was a conscientious decision to treat the soundtrack as a more subdued project, without even the promotional benefit of a single."

The record label, as much as they love Ground Beneath Her Feet, as much as they love the soundtrack to the MDH, are afraid that people will think it's the next U2 album," Bono said in a springtime on-line chat. "So, we've had to make its release very discrete. I understand this, having been through Passengers in 1997 or 1998. But nevertheless, I'm disappointed because The Ground Beneath Her Feet is such an extraordinary song."

The soundtrack features two new U2 songs, including The Ground Beneath Her Feet (with lyrics penned by famed author-in-hiding Salman Rushdie), as well as three new tunes by Bono the solo artist, along with The First Time (initially released on U2's 1993 album, Zooropa).

"It's something all of us are very proud of," Bono elaborated, "but we understand it's got to be a quiet release because the next U2 album is going to be very noisy. It's bursting with vitality and life force."

That next U2 album, by the way, is now titled All That You Can't Leave Behind and is to be released in the U.S. on October 31.



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