Diane Warren Interview: ‘Marshall’ songwriter

“I’m more excited about this song than any other song I have been nominated for ever,” reveals Diane Warren about “Stand Up For Something” from the film “Marshall.” She collaborated with co-nominee (and previous Oscar winner) Common for the tune. “It’s my most meaningful song, I think it’s my most important song,” she proclaims, adding that “not only does it fit this movie, but it really fits our times.”

As we chat via webcam (watch the exclusive video above), Warren explains how this song is special to her because of its timely social justice message. “It’s a rallying cry, a call to action to change the world,” she declares proudly. “The #MeToo and #TimesUp movement have embraced this song, the NAACP has embraced it, the ACLU, Stand Up to Cancer, CNN Heroes; so many have asked if this can be our song,” she explains. “What an honor that something you write can really resonate like that. There’s nothing better than that.”

The acclaimed songwriter has received nine Oscar nominations over the years, but so far has yet to win an Oscar. Warren reveals that she thinks she came agonizingly close to winning two years ago with her powerful Lady Gaga collaboration “Til It Happens To You” from the 2015 documentary feature “The Hunting Ground.” Although it was the favorite to win that year, it lost to Sam Smith and Jimmy Napes‘ “Writing’s on the Wall” from “Spectre.” “It was “more bitter than sweet” that she lost that night, she admits. But the experience of writing about an important social issue (i.e. campus sexual assault) inspired her to continue writing rousing and socially relevant songs that would resonate beyond the film they appear in. “When I first went to I write this song,” she explains, “I wanted to write something like “A Change is Gonna Come” from the turbulent sixties, and it’s weird now that we’re right back there. Nothing has really changed,” she reveals. ” When you can write a song that has an impact and affects people, that’s pretty ultimate.”

Like many of her previous Oscar nominated songs, like “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” (from “Armageddon” in 1998) and “How Do I Live” (from “Con Air” in 1997), Warren is especially proud of the impact she is able to have on the film’s story. In “Marshall,” her song, which is performed by vocalist Andra Day, plays over the end of the film where we learn about the illustrious career of Thurgood Marshall, the first ever African-American U.S. Supreme Court justice. “The cool thing about ‘Marshall’ is that it is not a biopic. It shows that one case that he did and he’s not a perfect man, he’s a flawed man,” she explains. “By the time you see all of the amazing things that Thurgood Marshall did [at the end of the film], that’s when the song really pays off. I thought it was beautifully used.”

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UPLOADED Feb 20, 2018 12:48 pm