The 1984 rock musical film “Purple Rain” was Prince‘s acting debut, which he scored and starred in. It also featured his band, The Revolution, and was created to showcase his talents, which many fans believe it successfully did.
The film was accompanied by Prince’s soundtrack album with the same name, which featured “When Doves Cry” and “Let’s Go Crazy,” two chart-topping singles. It also starred the hit “Purple Rain” song, which has sold over 25 million copies worldwide.
Journalist and author Alan Light revealed that “Purple Rain” wasn’t exactly what Prince wanted it to be, despite the huge success of the musical drama and album.
The singer reportedly preferred the film to have a more dark and provocative theme, especially at the end. Here’s what Light had to say about the development of “Purple Rain” and how Prince visualized the film.
Prince Wanted It To End With A Suicide
Light has admitted in several interviews to being a big fan of the singer back in the day and was even the author of the Prince biography “Let’s Go Crazy.” He opened up about the singer’s classical 1984 drama and revealed that the musician, who died in 2016, never intended for the movie to end how it did.
Light talked to NPR about it and explained that Prince wanted a suicide towards the film’s end, which didn’t happen. “The thing that really stayed in play until just about the last minute was, if you remember the movie, there’s the scene where his father shoots himself.”
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“And in the movie he pulls through,” Light continued, recalling that at the last scene of the movie, Prince was next to the hospital bed of the father, who was still alive, and the audience could see that there was a happy ending. “And this is after he played Purple Rain,” Light said.
Furthermore, he said the superstar fought hard for a much less “happy ending.” “For a long time, Prince was fighting for the father to actually kill himself in that scene and be done with it,” He explained. “And what Prince wanted in this film was a much darker conclusion and a much darker feel throughout.”
Prince And ‘Purple Rain’ Producers Were ‘Rookies’
Referring to them as “rookies,” Light also underlined that everyone involved in the production of the popular 80s R-rated film was, for the most part, a novice in the movie industry.
The movie producers, who were also Prince’s managers, had never made a movie before. “Albert Magnoli, who directed the film and handled much of the rewrite of the film, was kind of just out of film school, had not directed a feature,” Light said to NPR.
He also noted that it made Prince happy to see the crew “fumbling around” and trying to figure things out. He said, “it was about keeping Prince happy, keeping him engaged, and how much you could compromise to please Warner Bros. studios and make this something they could get behind.”
Additionally, the author mentioned that the people working on the movie knew very little about Prince. “They had no idea who Prince was,” Light said. “There was no awareness in Hollywood of who this guy was,” “So this was something that really played out through the whole making of the film,” he continued.
Prince Didn’t Promote ‘Purple Rain’ With Interviews
Light highlighted that Prince was known for being discreet about his life. When asked if much of the movie centered on Prince’s actual life experiences? He could not tell just how much or if any part of the musician’s life was put into “Purple Rain.”
“We didn’t really know much about Prince,” Light mentioned. “Here was this guy- he didn’t do any press. He also noted that it was amazing to recall that Prince did not do one interview throughout the “Purple Rain” period.
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“From the time that 1999 came out until after Around The World In A Day, the next album, came out, he did not do one- any kind of interview, any kind of press, anywhere.” Light expressed. That mystery continued to drive Prince’s fame internationally.
Even though “Purple Rain” wasn’t as dark as Prince would’ve preferred, he went on with the movie. “He went out and did it,” Light commended. “It was a huge success, and at that point it became very difficult for anybody to say no to him.”
‘Purple Rain’ Reception And Awards
The musical drama grossed over $72 million internationally, against a $7.2 million budget. It was nominated for and won an Oscar for Best Original Song Score.
Several critics and publications have referred to “Purple Rain” as one of the greatest musical films ever made. The movie was also nominated for and won the Academy Award for Best Original Musical in 1985.
Additionally, Prince won the award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture at the NAACP Image Award for “Purple Rain” in the same year, and many fans were happy about his success.
The Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry also added “Purple Rain” to their Library and praised the film for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” The film remains a cult classic that many fans love to this day.