Hathaway pens emotional tribute to Jonathan Demme

Jonathan Demme

Demme died on Wednesday, aged 73, from complications from oesophageal cancer.

"Jonathan taught us how big a heart a person can have, and how it will guide how we live and what we do for a living". He ended up working for Roger Corman, the famous director of schlocky B movies who nurtured a generation of younger Hollywood filmmakers. Here come the dancers. Jonathan was going through a bit of a nightmare during filming-a studio and a star wanted him to reshoot parts of a big budget film he'd just finished called Swingshift. And we didn't want to send them into a realm of upsetedness (ph) that transcended the guidelines of watching a scary movie.

Demme's 1980 film "Melvin and Howard" put him on the map and in 1991 he won the Academy Award for Best Director.

The filmmaker's last movie was a documentary about the singer, entitled Justin Timberlake And The Tennessee Kids. In his early twenties, Demme wrote rock music reviews for the Boston newspaper Fusion, and decades later, in a 2012 Rolling Stones interview, said, "Shooting live music is the most purely cinematic thing you can do".

"Deeply sad to hear my friend, neighbor, and colleague Jonathan Demme has passed on", Stephen King tweeted after the news emerged. Demme's 1993 movie was one of the first Hollywood films to take a look at the AIDS crisis.

There's a joyousness to Stop Making Sense that hadn't yet existed in even the best of Demme's already exemplary exploitation work.

Demme also made films with Neil Young ("Heart of Gold", "Neil Young Trunk Show", "Neil Young Journeys"), Bruce Springsteen, the Pretenders, and documented Spalding Grey performing a monologue ("Swimming to Cambodia"). In both movies oddballs - a service-station operator and billionaire Howard Hughes in one, an Federal Bureau of Investigation agent and a mob widow in the other - start talking and become closer by recognizing their similarities rather than being divided by their differences.

Katherine Dieckmann's film Strange Weather, starring Holly Hunter and Carrie Coon, with music by Sharon Van Etten and songs ranging from Interpol to Cassandra Wilson, opens theatrically on July 28. His screwball comedy "Something Wild" starred Jeff Bridges and Melanie Griffith.

In his subsequent directing jobs, he displayed technical competence but professed a certain joylessness in making Beloved (1998), a version of the Toni Morrison novel, and The Manchurian Candidate (2004), a remake of a vastly superior 1962 film. "Mr Demme may joke, but he's also capable of suggesting that the very fabric of American life may be woven of such things, and that it takes a merry and adventurous spirit to make the majority".

Some films were misfires.

Anne Hathaway earned an Oscar nod for her portrayal of a just-out-of-rehab mess who barely holds it together for her older sister's wedding - which itself morphs into a kind of concert film with some remarkable reception-set tunes. Not only was it one of the best thriller films to date, the character of Clarice Starling, a young female Federal Bureau of Investigation agent trying to "level up" to her male counterparts and put her best foot forward, is one of the most feminist, un-sexualised portrayals of the leading woman we have ever seen onscreen.

Demme was initially married to Evelyn Purcell, before divorcing.

Demme's publicist confirmed the film-maker died at his Manhattan apartment on Wednesday morning surrounded by his wife Joanne Howard and three children.

In lieu of flowers, Demme's family asked that donations be made to Americans For Immigrant Justice in Miami.

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