BEN HONG HELPS JAMIE FOXX BECOME "THE SOLOIST"
Hired by Dreamworks to teach Jamie Foxx to play cello, Ben Hong is the featured soloist on the movie soundtrack
(Los Angeles -- April 2009) -- Cellist Ben Hong worked behind the scenes of the soon-to-be-released Dreamworks film, "The Soloist." He was hired to serve multiple roles for the movie:
Hired as cello instructor to Academy Award winning actor Jamie Foxx, Tom Hollander and Justin Martin
Served as music technical advisor for the director, Joe Wright
Recorded all of the solo cello music featured on the movie soundtrack as well as the playback tracks
"The Soloist," based on Steve Lopez's columns in the Los Angeles Times, is about Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, a former Juilliard student who ended up on the streets of Los Angeles homeless and schizophrenic yet held tight to his music.
"Hong was a vital ingredient in the making of 'The Soloist.' His work allowed Foxx to play the role of Nathaniel with freedom," says Soloist Producer Gary Foster. "Ben's work gave Jamie the confidence to know that his cello performance was accurate. Ben also worked closely with Joe Wright, the film's director, and composer Dario Marinelli. Ben's beautiful cello playing is the voice of Nathaniel on the soundtrack. We are very lucky to have him be a part of 'The Soloist.'"
"It was a great honor for me to be part of this film on many levels," says Ben Hong. "In my first meeting with Joe, he told me that he wanted the music to represent the emotional core of the film and to capture the hearts of the audience. Also, it was extremely important to Joe that Jamie had to be totally convincing as a cellist on-screen. That meant he wanted me to train Jamie intensely."
The training started in late August of 2007 and lasted through mid-April of 2008.
"Ben made it fun but he also challenged and pushed me. We sat up for hours every night trying to make sure every aspect of the cello playing was seamless," says Jamie Foxx.
Hong is a real-life friend of Ayers and Lopez and also featured in Lopez's book "The Soloist."
Steve Lopez says, "From the very first encounter at Disney Hall, Ben Hong treated Mr. Ayers with great respect, and it became the basis for a meaningful friendship. Mr. Ayers was in awe of Mr. Hong's accomplishments as a musician; Mr. Hong was fascinated by Mr. Ayers' pure and honest relationship with music and the way it shaped his very existence. There was something natural between them and it exists to this day, almost four years later. I could not have been more pleased when I learned that Mr. Hong was going to work on this movie. He was able to bring his sensitivity and friendship with Mr. Ayers into the instruction of Mr. Foxx as well as the recording of the sound track."
"The Soloist" opens in theaters across the country on April 24, 2009.