De-LovelyGAMBIER, Ohio (July 15, 2004) A movie examining the life and career of Cole Porter, one of America's most gifted musical-theater song writers, might sound like a revival of the musical genre that Porter helped to propel. But the script by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Jay Cocks, Class of 1966, relies on a reality-based narrative to tell the story. The songs are there to complement the dialogue.
"I never thought of De-Lovely as a musical," Cocks tells USA Today. "I thought of it as a drama with music."
Directed by Irwin Winkler, De-Lovely stars Kevin Kline and Ashley Judd. It opened across the country in mid-July.
Cocks is perhaps best known for adapting and writing the screenplay for Martin Scorsese's 1993 film The Age of Innocence. That effort earned an Academy Award nomination for Cocks, who worked with Scorsese more recently on the 2002 film Gangs of New York.
Cocks returned to Kenyon this spring to accept an honorary degree, and he credits at least part of his love of film to experiences he had while he was a student. He wrote a movie-review column for the student newspaper, the Collegian, using the power of the press at one point to "seize control" of the Film Society so he could show the movies he wanted to see.
Looking back, Cocks especially appreciates that Kenyon "would allow you a fair amount of latitude to make your own world, to make your own school. There aren't enough good movies around? OK, here's the Kenyon Film Society. No film festivals? Start one. Crummy music? Bring Bob Dylan and Nina Simone to campus, which I and classmates on the social committee did."
The student-shaped culture of the College continues today: the Kenyon Film Society is alive and well, several film festivals take place annually, and student-led committees bring the entertainment they want to campus.
Reviews for De-Lovely have been generally positive, but don't expect Cocks to pay too much attention to them. As a former critic for Time magazine, he claims not to care much about them. "My satisfaction, or lack of it, comes from my own feeling about the work. Every writer has a whole battery of insecurities, but mine stop with the finished product, and not anybody else's reaction to it."