This spring Mark Ruffalo and Scarlett Johansson will team up for the superhero ensemble The Avengers, playing the Hulk and Black Widow respectively. But after all the dust has cleared from much smashings and leather-bound ass-kicking, these two actors, who both forged their careers in independent cinema, will step away from the world of big budget movies to be a part of Once writer-director John Carney's next music-fueled drama, titled Can a Song Save Your Life?
News of this film first broke last summer with Johansson was already attached, while Ruffalo's involvement was rumored. Exclusive Media has announced that the film is a go, and Johansson and Ruffalo will play its love-struck leads. More specifically, Johansson will play Gretta, an aspiring musician that moves to New York City with her long-time boyfriend, who abandons her as soon as fame comes calling. Alone and adrift, Gretta unleashes her heartbreak into her music. While playing at a local bar, she's "discovered" by Ruffalo's character, a record producer who has seen better days. Inevitably these two wounded souls bond and ultimately create beautiful music together – both literally and metaphorically.
There's no mention as to whether or not Ruffalo will sing, but Johansson proved her chanteuse prowess with her moody Tom Waits cover album Anywhere I Lay My Head Down. While I was admittedly underwhelmed by that effort, I'm eager to see what Carney has in mind, and can't help but imagine any shared song numbers between Ruffalo and Johansson would be unrepentantly full of smoldering. But most of all, I just want to see another feature as simple and soul-soothing as Once.
Carney will collaborate with Grammy-award winning songwriter Gregg Alexander (the lead singer of New Radicals) to craft the film's soundtrack, a high-pressure gig considering Once's soundtrack not only scored an Oscar but also launched its lovebird artists. Also on board is Bridesmaids producer Judd Apatow, who will serve as executive producer on Can a Song Save Your Life?. While this may seem strange upon first glance—what with Apatow's wheelhouse being raunchy comedies—I think this is a good sign that Carney will get to make the film he envisions. After all, Apatow has proven himself a producer who knows how to throw his weight around to do right by his films. In short, despite it's overtly emo title, Can a Song Save Your Life? sounds like it could be truly extraordinary.
For Ruffalo fans, a quick search for Ruffalo sings turned up this Lifetime Original moment. Let's hope it's just the character he's playing here that can't carry a tune:
Can a Song Save Your Life? is slated to shoot this June.