Scriptland, the LAT's weekly ode to Hollywood's nebbish, toiling underclass of screenwriters and the (progressively-hotter-the-more-successful-they-get) women who love them, turns their attentions to Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. A comic riff on the tortured musician biopic genre—of the sort Spike Lee recently attached himself to—from longtime friends and collaborators Jake Kasdan and Judd Apatow, Walk Hard stars John C. Reilly in the title role of the troubled, Buddy Holly-era rocker who probably would have been better off not having outlived the Day the Music Died. Kasdan described their process for creating the film's all-important soundtrack composed of "good songs that are funny within the context of the movie," amazingly without ever once uttering the words, "You know, like in Spinal Tap.":
After writing song titles and lyric fragments into the screenplay, Kasdan and Apatow reached out to musicians they admired who could use the script cues for songwriting inspiration. The brainstorming has resulted in songs like Cox's first huge hit, "Walk Hard"; a tune from his "dangerous period" called "Guilty as Charged" and songs from a protest album he turns out during his socially conscious political phase named "These Are My Issues." [...]
Though Kasdan showed off his songwriting skills in his first film, "Zero Effect," which included star Bill Pullman performing two songs they had co-written, he and Apatow will not be performing on the "Walk Hard" soundtrack. "We both play really mediocre adolescent Jewish-boy-who-loved-Bob-Dylan, campfire-type guitar," Kasdan jokes. "We both know the same six chords."
Longtime friends and collaborators ("Freaks and Geeks," "Undeclared"), Kasdan and Apatow wrote the script, mostly over the phone, in the spring after Kasdan offhandedly mentioned the idea and Apatow "totally responded to it, in the way that he is able to do, and immediately came up with 40 jokes on that phone call," Kasdan says.
It's creative synergy like that—40 troubled rocker jokes in a single phone call!—which separates the Hollywood writing team champions from the also-rans: Those pairs of petulant partners you find at the Bourgeois Pig, bickering over who was responsible for composing their "tattoo artist girl meets 9/11 survivor" romcom project's single page of dialogue, while hurling accusations that the sipping of a latte too loudly was a conscious effort to trigger the other's writer's block.