Bruce Springsteen‘s longtime archivist, editor, and director Thom Zimny is thrilled with the way his film version of Springsteen On Broadway turned out. The Netflix special has been nominated for an Emmy in the Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded) category this year, with the awards telecast taking place on September 22nd on Fox.
Zimny spoke about the film, admitting to The Wrap, “It was one of those dream projects, seeing the show in the early stages and then spending time with Bruce and watching him develop the stage show. I really got to explore a lot of ways to capture it. . . Broadway itself was such an intimate journey. I knew I wanted to bring that theater across, but also give you a sense you’re even closer in that experience.”
He went on to explain, “We used the simple idea of not having an introduction, of just going straight to a closeup of Bruce. Or not cutting to an audience member to enhance a joke. I really opened it up slowly throughout the edit. . . But I also wanted to work in the language of film. I would take in the details of his body language — the boots going across the stage, the times when he didn’t sing on microphone — and I thought, ‘How can I portray that in a shot?’ . . . I tried to do that in an invisible style. I really worked on storyboarding and also certain sections of dialogue, no different than my experiences shooting or editing narrative.”
Thanks to the success of the Springsteen On Broadway show, on June 10th, 2018 at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall, Bruce Springsteen was presented a “Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement” by old friend Billy Joel at The American Theatre Wing’s 72nd Annual Tony Awards:
Thom Zimny is best known for such Springsteen docs and concert films as Wings For Wheels: The Making Of Born To Run; The Promise: The Making Of Darkness On The Edge Of Town; The Ties That Bind; Springsteen On Broadway — along with the critically acclaimed Elvis Presley: The Searcher.
During the 2005 tour behind Devils & Dust, Bruce Springsteen was asked about the differences between the bombastic E Street Band concerts and his scaled back and low-key solo shows: “I like both. I like the physicality of the band. I try to get to the same place, but by taking a different road. I think people cone to concerts to be moved emotionally, to be excited, to be transformed in some way. And so, those are the same goals, and I simply say, ‘Y’know, tonight, instead of taking this road — we’re gonna take this road.’ But ultimately at the end of the evening, you’re, y’know, you’re reaching for a certain emotion and emotional catharsis and connection. It’s always the connection between you, the audience, and the people in the songs.”