My friend John passed this to me and now I’m passing it to you:
“Elliott Smith, Polyphonics Bring Balance To ‘Thumbsucker’ Soundtrack”
When director Mike Mills began considering the music that would underscore his coming-of-age teen dramedy “Thumbsucker,” he remembered a similar, albeit darker film: Hal Ashby’s 1971 classic comedy, “Harold and Maude,” which was scored entirely by singer/songwriter Cat Stevens.
Known primarily for his imaginative music videos for ’90s hipsters (Air, Cibo Matto, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion), his graphic design and album art (Beastie Boys, Sonic Youth) and his affiliation with Spike Jonze’s skate video crew, Mills was originally pegged as an ironist, but hopes the raw and emotional nature of “Thumbsucker” will clear the misconception.
Influenced by Ashby’s movie, Mills sought a contemporary analogue to Stevens’ folk-inflected songs, and settled upon indie-rock auteur Elliott Smith, who died of an apparent suicide in 2003. Before Smith’s death, the director approached the singer about scoring his debut film, and to his surprise, the reclusive Smith agreed.
“Elliott has always been an artistic hero of mine,” Mills said from his home in Los Angeles, noting that he’d met Smith in 2000, when he designed the artwork for the singer’s “Happiness” single. “I gave him the script and I was shocked that he liked it and wanted to work on it.”