Classic Scene: High Fidelity

What came first, the music or the misery?

Spurned by a lover,  Rob Gordon sets out on a journey to reconnect with his exes to find out why his relationships always end the same way: in disaster. John Cusack plays the fourth wall-breaking, musically obsessed, and slightly self deluded protagonist of High Fidelity with the kind of charismatic ease that seems to just flow from him. A record store owner with more interest in gabbing on to his employees (and the audience) than actually selling records, High Fidelity feels like a film capturing a moment in time, forever freezing a slice of Gen X late ‘20s life to film. Adapted from the novel of the same name by Nick Hornby, the film garnered strong critical praise on release, and its supporting cast of Jack Black (yes, he sings), Joan Cusack (with a very memorable line), Tim Robbins and Lisa Bonet help make this turn of the Millennium film into a memorable exploration of love, commitment, and making Top Five lists out of every imaginable thing.

But did you know…

1) Jack Black never auditioned for the role of Barry. He was still relatively unknown at the time, but was making enough waves that when director Stephen Frears asked who should play the role, Black’s name came up. Upon looking into him, it became apparent he was the only man for the role.

2) The record store that Rob and the gang work in was a constructed set. Early in production the prop team purchased a load of records to fill the store, but it turned out that they had “cleaned out” a Christian record store, resulting in shelves of hymns, Christian songs, and spoken word sermons being on the shelves of the store. To preserve authenticity, the props team went back out to other record stores and bought much cooler records.

3) Cusack was initially reluctant for his character to break the fourth wall throughout the film, fearing it was, “too much of me”.  The writers chose the method, inspired by the Michael Caine classic Alfie, as a way to convey the confessional inner thoughts Rob has in the book. When Frears signed on as director, he convinced Cusack to leave the fourth wall breaks in.