Florence Foster Jenkins – “They can say that I can’t sing, but they can’t say that I didn’t sing”
Florence Foster Jenkins is hitting U.S. Cinemas on August 12, 2016, and surprisingly is based on a true story. Florence Foster Jenkins was a New York socialite and heiress whom used her fortune, connections, and personality to achieve her dream of becoming a soprano opera singer.
The film is receiving fantastic reviews, and appears to be the breakout hit of the summer. The star studded team of actors and captivating story line, is made all the better by the historical basis of the film. Madame Florence really did play a sold out Carnegie hall, just as she did in the film. I was lucky enough to speak with Simon Helberg who plays Cosme McMoon, the real life pianist to Madame Florence, about what it was like working in a historical role.
According to Mr. Helberg, he and Meryl Streep actually performed every live musical piece in the film. He went on to discuss how his abilities as a pianist were crucial to the role. After having learned to play the piano at the age of ten, Mr. Helberg went on to play in Jazz and Rock bands but had not played for quite some time until being cast in this role.
Meryl Streep’s astounding acting beautify hid the fact that she is a beautiful vocal musician, and mimicked the real Madam Florence. Just before the credits there is a scene where Ms. Streep is able to truly sing, and it’s beautiful. Mr. Helberg stated that being able to work with Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant was like a “Collision of dreams I(he) had growing up.” Filming 1940s New York City in London in historical roles must have been quite an experience.
Despite his modesty Mr. Helberg did admit to being a classically trained pianist, who had been focusing on his acting career since his time at NYU. When he was auditioning for the role he felt he had lied about his abilities as a classical pianist. Luckily the dust was quickly shaken off and Mr. Helberg delivers a stellar performance, both as an actor and pianist. This film is filled to the brim with phenomenal acting and tells the tale of nearly unbelievable but inspirational true tale.