Spinning Gold: Is the Movie Based on Neil Bogart’s Life?

Directed by Timothy Scott Bogart, Spinning Gold is a biographical drama film that focuses on Neil Bogart and his journey as he establishes his own record label and makes a name for himself as an executive in the music industry. The vibrant characters and colourful set pieces form the backdrop of a very humane story. Therefore, one can’t help but wonder whether ‘Spinning Gold’ is inspired by real events or not. If you are curious about the same, then here’s everything you need to know!

Spinning Gold’s True Story Foundation: Neil Bogart’s Life

Yes, ‘Spinning Gold’ is based on a true story. Based on the life of Casablanca Records founder Neil Bogart, the film has been written and directed by his eldest son Timothy Scott Bogart. The film also includes famous songwriter Evan Bogart, Neil’s youngest son, as the executive music producer, making ‘Spinning Gold’ a true family production. With ‘Spinning Gold,’ Timothy aims to deliver an accurate representation of Neil Boggart’s life and career during his time as the head of Casablanca Records.

“The obstacles in bringing Spinning Gold to the screen weren’t so much in whose story it was to tell because what we always thought was special was the stories that people didn’t know, but we knew them as the family, as the son who lived it. Um, we grew up with these artists not as artists but as family. Donna Summer was my aunt, Gene Simmons was my uncle…it was such an intimate knowledge of what happened, um that I felt I specifically had a very unique insight into not just what happened, but what was special about what happened,” said Timothy Boggart about bringing his father’s story to life on the silver screen in an interview with Deadline Hollywood.

The movie focuses heavily on the artists which Neil Bogart discovered and launched and what kind of relationship he had with them. “The mission was always to do a love letter to these incredible artists and these incredible moments in music history…” Timothy continued. ‘Spinning Gold’ features a few of today’s incredible musical talents in the roles of these icons of the 70s who inspired them. Grammy and Golden Globe Nominee Wiz Khalifa plays George Clinton, Jason Derulo takes on the role of Ron Isley of the Isley Brothers, and Pink Sweat$ portrays Bill Withers.

Not just that, Grammy nominee Tayla Parx as Donna Summer and multi-Grammy winner Ledisi as Gladys Knight. Taking on the role of the larger-than-life Neil Bogart is Jeremy Jordan, a well-known Broadway talent. In the same interview, Jeremy described what it is like to play such an influential personality in the music industry. “Reading the script and seeing like videos and interviews with, uh, Neil Bogart, and then experiencing being in the room with Tim [Timothy Bogart] as a director, both sort of dually influenced me.”

Jeremy added, “So I would find myself, you know, trying to work on the character and Tim would come up to me with this crazy – not crazy, but like with this wild energy that he has when he’s on set and I was like oh, that’s-that’s Neil right there. I could see him, like, in here. In the way you’re [Timothy Bogart] talking, in the way you’re like super intense. So I-I got a lot of my inspiration for the character from, from you [Timothy Bogart], actually.”

It so happens that when a great work of media, whether it’s a film, a television show, or a song, is created, people remember the names of the actors, the singers, the directors, and sometimes even the screenplay writer. But the people who find these talents, invest in them and do their utmost to promote them to greater heights are often reduced to the names of the companies they have either established or worked for. Neil Bogart is one such person.

People remember Curtis Mayfield, Bill Withers, Gladys Knight, KISS, Parliament, Donna Summer, and Village People, but very few mention the man who discovered and provided them with the resources to make their mark in the history of show business. Though Bogart, unfortunately, died of cancer in 1982 at the age of 39, the film is a wonderful and heartfelt attempt by his children to preserve their father’s legacy beyond his work as a record executive. To separate and showcase Neil Bogart for who he was as a man and how he went about both his work and life.

Read More: Where Was Spinning Gold Filmed?