Louvin Brothers Biopic Starring Ethan Hawke + Alessandro Nivola in the Works
Hollywood star and Blaze director Ethan Hawke and actor Alessandro Nivola will re-tell the story of the Louvin Brothers' influential music and erratic lives in the forthcoming film Satan Is Real. The movie, currently in development, will be directed by Phil Morrison, written by Jon Raymond and Shelby Gaines, and based off Charlie Louvin's autobiography of the same name.
The Louvins' story presents a treasure trove for filmmakers and actors for two reasons: Most obviously, the duo's "blood harmonies," a term used to describe when relatives' voices blend impeccably, drew inspiration from local brothers-turned-Opry stars the Delmore Brothers and the Sand Mountain region of Alabama's rich history of shape-note gospel singing. The Louvins presented these reference points in a more pop-friendly manner, catching the ear of the Everly Brothers and other "blood harmony" standard-bearers.
“It’s such an important expression to us,” Hawke tells Variety about the Louvins' influential vocal style. “It sounds both violent and beautiful and the music should be that. It’s aggressive, it’s electric, it’s strange. It’s not Brooklyn folk rock. It’s not wannabe cool guy country. It’s hillbilly gospel music.”
Despite their compatibility as performers, Charlie and Ira Louvin couldn't have been more different offstage. Although he was far from a saint, straight-laced Charlie's life often reflected the same values as the duo's gospel repertoire, including the song behind the film's title. By comparison, older brother Ira was a holy terror: His drinking, volatile temper and womanizing culminated with an infamous 1963 incident when Ira's third wife shot him multiple times after he'd wrapped a telephone cord around her neck.
The Louvin Brothers parted ways in 1963, two years before Ira died in a car wreck.
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