Welcome to a potential new feature on the Jiba: Mindhole Blowers, where we troll the Internet and listen to DVD Commentaries of our favorite films and bring you some of the fascinating minutia about them. Because Cameron Crowe is back in the spotlight, with a documentary on Pearl Jam coming out soon, and filming on We Bought a Zoo having already begun, we kick off the series with one of my all-time favorites: Singles:
Citizen Dick’s album name, Touch Me, I’m Dick, was a direct reference to a Mudhoney song, “Touch Me, I’m Sick.” There was a complete listing of songs on the fictional Citizen Dick album made up by Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament. Chris Cornell ended up writing songs based on each title. One, “Seasons,” made it onto the soundtrack. Another, “Spoonman,” wound up on a future Soundgarden album.
Cameron Crowe toyed with the idea of naming the movie, Come As Your Are,, after the Nirvana song. In fact, Nirvana was supposed to have a song on the soundtrack, but in between the time that the film was shot and released, Nirvana blew up, and Cameron Crowe could no longer afford the rights to “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”
Kyra Sedgewick was the 5th choice to play Linda Powell, after Jennifer Jason Leigh (who the part was written for), Jodie Foster, Mary Stuart Masterson, and Robin Wright Penn.
Paul Giamatti has a brief appearance in Singles
So did Victor Garber.
All of Pearl Jam’s members were in the film, making up Matt Dillon’s bandmates in Citizen Dick. At the time, however, Pearl Jam was still known as Mookie Blaylock. There were apparently some rights problems. The name was owned by a guy named Mookie Blaylock.
Singles was supposed to begin development in 1984, but it was delayed, so instead of introducing many to the Seattle music scene, it capitalized on its sudden popularity. In fact, the film was finished in 1991, but it took another year for the studio to figure out how to market it. The Seattle sound did their job for them, and the Singles soundtrack ultimately crystallized its popularity.
There were several cameos, well known by now in Singles. Chris Cornell’s was my favorite:
Most of Matt Dillon’s wardrobe in the film was borrowed from Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament.
One of the looks that Debbie suggested for her dating video was “The Edie Sedgwick,” who was a cousin to Kyra. There’s also a picture of Edie Sedgwick on one of Cliff’s T-shirts in the movie. Edie Sedgwick was a model and heiress, one of Andy Warhol’s superstar girls and close friends with Bob Dylan. She died in 1971 of an accidental overdose, possible suicide.
In one scene in the movie, a customer at a coffee shop is reading Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung by Lester Bangs, who of course was one of Cameron Crowe’s mentors and a significant part of Almost Famous.
NBC attempted to turn Singles into a television series. Cameron Crowe balked, but NBC went ahead with the idea, anyway, incorporating many of the elements of that proposed series into a little television show called “Friends.”
If you haven’t seen the movie in a while, you might be surprised to remember that Jim True Frost (Roland ‘Prezbo’ Pryzbylewski in “The Wire”) had a significant role in the film as the best friend of Campbell Scott’s character.
Ally Walker (“Sons of Anarchy”) was in it, too. She wins the prize for “changed the most” since filming:
Sheila Kelley, who played Debbie of “Debbie Country” fame, is now married to Richard Schiff. Richard Schiff was in Hoffa. Tim Burton, in one of only five screen appearances in his career, played a corpse in Hoffa. In another that same year, he played the director of the “Debbie Country” dating video in Singles. Coincidence? Probably. Kelley is now best known for having created the S Factor, a dance fitness workout that revolves around pole dancing. I shit you not.
Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.