SAYS AMAZING 'PHANTOM' EVENT SHOWED HIM A TOUCHING LEVEL OF AFFECTION FOR THE SONGWRITER
The Toronto Star's Linda Barnard spoke by phone with Paul Williams and Steve Kessler, director of the documentary Paul Williams Still Alive, which premieres tomorrow at the Toronto International Film Festival. Barnard asked the duo about the film's link to Winnipeg, where Kessler first made contact with Williams during one of the city's "Phantompalooza" events:
Q: The movie starts in Winnipeg where the (1974 musical directed by Brian De Palma with music by Williams) Phantom of the Paradise has a cult following. That's where Steve first makes contact with you.
PW: There are two cities in the world (the other is Paris) that got it and I don't understand it. There is such a love affair with the film . . . in Winnipeg, there are people who got that piece of art.
SK: I have to say if it wasn't for the people of Winnipeg this movie would never have gotten made. When I saw the level of affection people had for Paul, I said, “I can't be the only person on earth with this level of affection for Paul.” This was an amazing event.
Q: I have to ask you about your signature hairstyle, that long blond shag you wore in the '70s.
PW: Me and Hayley Mills. I ripped her off. It's just the way it grew in — the Swan hairstyle.
WILLIAMS' NEW SONG 'SUMS UP HIS LIFE IN A VERY HONEST WAY', SAYS KESSLER
Barnard also reports that Williams wrote the title track to the documentary, and was sent an mp3 of the song, which, she writes, "it has the signature Williams mix of melancholy and flashes of self-deprecating humour." Regarding the song, Kessler told Barnard, "I think he summed up his life in a very honest way. It really adds something."