Monday, 23 May 2011

Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) From Kill Bill to Gang Girls

Miss Annie in screen shot from Gang Girls, directed by Sharon Holloway

When Quentin Tarantino chose the 1966 Nancy Sinatra cover version of Sonny Bono's Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) for the soundtrack of his movie Kill Bill Volume 1, it became one of the most iconic songs in film history. The haunting tones of Billy Strange's melancholic guitar and Nancy's beautiful voice was stunningly apt for a storyline centered on a traumatised woman seeking justice. The PSM remix did even more to mark the track out as a further reinvention of the song's lasting sentiments.

So when our short film Gang Girls was in the stages of pre-production, it wasn't long before we too recognised the power of this song to be able to reinforce the storyline of a young woman searching for her identity in the sixties when the youth culture of mods OR rockers was firmly embedded in her upbringing. In just over three minutes, I had the challenge as a director of finding an obviously sixties song which could be refreshed and which could still add another dimension to a visual piece which contained no on screen dialogue from our cast. The lyrics of Bang Bang both coveyed an inner turmoil and a resolution for the protagonist, one obvious reason behind the decision of Tarantino to use it to highlight the plight and the journey of The Bride, played with such passion by Uma Thurman in his 2003 Kill Bill film.

With the spectacular Miss Annie, of Bournemouth's The Regular Joes and The Kitty Kat Cabaret Club fame, on board (Miss Annie also features in Gang Girls), and ready to go in to the studio to record a soundtrack for us, I was confident that a brilliant new version of Bang Bang was capable of being created. My live interview on local Radio Station Radio Solent last night, in which both Cher's original version and part of Miss Annie's new version were played was such an exciting moment. It provided further recognition for the choice of song and Miss Annie's powerful vocals if ever that was needed. The interview can be heard on BBC iplayer until 29 May 2011 here.

Don't get me wrong, I'm neither pretending to be the next Tarantino, nor am I wedded to copying his work, but I am admirer for the Kill Bill films, because with so few female directors around at the top of the film industry, finding inspiration for strong female storylines on the big screen doesn't often stretch to retro action movies! I also applaud him for integrating the 5, 6, 7, 8s in his soundtrack and the film - Japanese beehives and great music all in one hit!

Returning to the great Nancy Sinatra for a moment, it cannot be denied that her look was also an inspiration for the hair and make-up design on one of our retro girl gang members, Maddy Hobbs.

Maddy Hobbs in Gang Girls. Hair & Make-up Design Vintage Hair Lounge. Photo by Scott Chalmers

So if you've not seen Gang Girls yet, grab a cuppa, give yourself a three minute break and watch and listen here.

Gang Girls, featuring Shana Swash and Miss Annie is now heading for the big screen on the film festival circuit. More news will be posted here.

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