“The Velvet Underground” is a feature documentary on the Oscar shortlist that explores the multiple threads that converged to bring together one of the most influential bands in rock and roll. Director Todd Haynes helmed the picture that features archival footage of band members Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison and Moe Tucker (among others) taken by legendary artist Andy Warhol. Watch our exclusive video interview with one of the film’s producers, Julie Goldman, above.
“Todd and his producing partner said they were incredibly experienced with fiction films, but they hadn’t really dipped their toes into documentary,” Goldman says. “They wanted to bring a documentary company on board to partner with. We got a call…it’s kind of like the dream project that you have delivered to your door. The idea of being able to do this with [Haynes] was a dream come true. His whole approach to this was something that we really liked from the start. He wanted the film to take place, as much as possible, from the voices, interviews and experiences of the people who were there at the time.”
“I had actually seen screen tests over the years at various Warhol exhibits,” Goldman continues. “I didn’t realize how extensive the ones he did with the band were going to be. We all trekked down to Pittsburgh to the Warhol museum. The museum was closed for the weekend and we were there with white gloves going through the archives with them, looking at what they had. When we saw those, Todd was like, ‘screen tests, right away!’ But to have them put in and have them become one half of the screen and have the story unfold on the other side…suddenly you’re drawn in as a viewer in a very different way.”
Goldman also speaks to the New York attitude the band embodied. “They were no BS people,” she asserts. “Their story is incredible. The band came together for a few years and then Lou’s an accountant for his father afterwards. Moe is working at retail. So they really were not like superstars. They were real artists that came together. There was no falsity to it. It was kind of this working class ethic and this way of coming together and making it about the music. Making it about the art.”
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