In 1969, the UK pop star Dusty Springfield had already had a great career as a singer of grand, orchestral ballads and covers of American soul songs. Her career was starting to wind down, but she still had things that she wanted to accomplish. So she signed to Atlantic, the home of her hero Aretha Franklin, and did her best to make a full-on American soul album. Dusty In Memphis had a bit of a chaotic road to completion, and Springfield actually recorded many of the album’s vocals in New York, over a prerecorded rhythm track. And when it came out, it didn’t sell much, though she did score a minor hit with “Son Of A Preacher Man.” But today, Dusty In Memphis stands as a singular classic of warm, pillowy, lightly psychedelic soul-pop. And now it’s going to become a movie.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the British actress Gemma Arterton — previously seen in movies like Quantum Of Solace, The Disappearance Of Alice Creed, and Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters — will play Dusty Springfield in a new movie called So Much Love. Phyllis Nagy, screenwriter of the much-loved Toddy Haynes romance Carol, will make her directorial debut. (She also wrote the screenplay.) The movie will follow the creation of Dusty In Memphis, which should make for a classic fish-out-of-water tale as well as a story about a strong-willed woman functioning within a repressive music business.
Talking to The Hollywood Reporter, Arterton has this to say:
I have been an admirer of Dusty Springfield since I was a teenager: her effortless husky voice, the way she conveyed emotion through music, how she helped bring Motown to the UK. Dusty was ahead of her time in many ways and inspired so many future artists. She was generous, witty, mercurial, shy, extrovert and a true English eccentric. I simply cannot wait to play her.
The movie is in pre-production right now.