COLD­PLAY

Di­rec­tor Mat White­cross on fol­low­ing his Oa­sis film with a doc­u­men­tary more than two decades in the mak­ing.

Q (UK) - - Contents - NIALL DO­HERTY

Di­rec­tor Mat White­cross dis­cusses his epic, ac­cess-all-ar­eas new rock­u­men­tary.

AHead Full Of Dreams, a new Cold­play film from Su­per­sonic di­rec­tor Mat White­cross, be­gins with an in­con­gru­ous transat­lantic phone call be­tween Chris Martin and the film-maker. “I was won­der­ing if you’d had a chance to see the film yet?” asks White­cross. Martin replies that he can’t bring him­self to watch it. “I feel like if I see it, I might just want to re­move my­self,” says the singer. “If it’s OK with you, could I just trust you on it? We’ve known you for so long and we trust you.” That theme of friend­ship and be­lief sets the tone for an ac­cess-all-ar­eas doc­u­men­tary that has been more than two decades in the mak­ing. White­cross met Martin and the rest of the band – Jonny Buckland, Guy Ber­ry­man and Will Cham­pion – when they were all stu­dents at Univer­sity Col­lege Lon­don in 1996, liv­ing in halls of res­i­dence just off Tot­ten­ham Court Road. He was an aspir­ing film-maker and his friends were in a fledg­ling band, so he started fol­low­ing them with a cam­era. “I kept pes­ter­ing them and film­ing all the time, say­ing, ‘I wanna make a film about you guys,’” re­calls White­cross. When the band were about to sign to Par­lophone, he sug­gested do­ing some­thing with his year’s worth of footage, but they weren’t con­vinced. “They were like, ‘I’m not sure if we’ve re­ally got a story yet,’” he says. Ever since, the band have en­cour­aged White­cross to keep doc­u­ment­ing them, invit­ing him along to var­i­ous tours and record­ing ses­sions. “Ev­ery two or three years, I’d say, ‘Come on, we’ve got a lot of footage now, let’s make some­thing!’ but they’d go, ‘Don’t worry about it, stick it on the shelf.’” He shot lots of ma­te­rial when the band were mak­ing 2008’ s Viva La Vida… with Brian Eno, but that ended up gather­ing dust too. “It was like the most ex­pen­sive home movie never made,” says the di­rec­tor. He still isn’t cer­tain why the band de­cided that now was the right time. “I don’t know if Chris is 100 per cent sure that he ever wanted the film to be re­leased. But he said, ‘[ The al­bum] A Head Full Of Dreams feels like the cul­mi­na­tion of some­thing we were try­ing to do when we first met, the end of a cer­tain chap­ter of our lives and we don’t know what we’re do­ing next, so maybe now is fi­nally the time to take stock.’” White­cross had more than 1000 hours of footage to work through. Mixed in with con­cert clips, in­ter­views and con­tri­bu­tions from their col­lab­o­ra­tors over the years, A Head Full Of Dreams (on Ama­zon Prime Video from 16 Novem­ber; in cin­e­mas from 14 Novem­ber) gives a de­tailed in­sight into the in­ner-work­ings of one of the world’s big­gest bands, cap­tur­ing their rise in the early ’ 00s and the rup­tures that ap­peared as they dealt with both be­ing huge and their front­man’s as­cen­dance into the world of A-list celebrity. One scene shows drum­mer Will Cham­pion’s amus­ingly unim­pressed re­ac­tion when Martin shares a po­ten­tial lyric name-check­ing Leonardo DiCaprio. “It’s a bit wanky, talk­ing about ‘Leonardo’,” the drum­mer rea­sons, prob­a­bly cor­rectly. Brian Eno helped to re-es­tab­lish the bond be­tween the quar­tet, and White­cross says that that con­nec­tion be­tween them is key to his film. “It’s not a sexy sub­ject, friend­ship,” he says. “When we were mak­ing Su­per­sonic, it was about ri­valry and con­fronta­tion and anger. This is about the op­po­site. Friend­ship and unity. In some ways, you re­alise that that’s just as fas­ci­nat­ing, that what uni­fies you is more im­por­tant than what di­vides you. I think that’s the story of Cold­play.” With mil­lions of al­bum sales and some of the most suc­cess­ful tours in mod­ern mu­sic be­hind them, Cold­play have earned the right to look back. A Head Full Of Dreams is a com­pelling re­count­ing of their tale. Chris Martin is miss­ing out.

“I don’t know if Chris is 100 per cent sure that he ever wanted the f ilm to be re­leased. But he said, ‘Maybe now is f in­ally the time to take stock.’” Mat White­cross

Then and now: stills of Cold­play through the years in new doc A Head Full Of Dreams.

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