Hard to imagine, but long-time rocker, Rick Springfield, was not even one of those queued up or making calls to get an audition for “Ricki and the Flash.” Even the lure of working with Meryl Streep never crossed the Australian-born but American-loved artist’s mind. He describes how it was pure happenstance, and a headstrong manager, who got him to that very long-distance audition today, on August 6’s Kathie Lee and Hoda hour of “Today.”
“Who is this, really?” was the question Springfield wanted to ask when the call came from director, Jonathan Demme, saying he wanted to see the real rock star for the role of Ricki’s love, Greg. The real rat was doing the real thing rock stars do, touring on the East Coast, and had to rush to get to the other side of the country, with just two hours to prepare. Realizing he didn’t want to do a bad audition for the esteemed filmmaker, he resolved not to go, until his PR agent and manager, Kim, insisted, “You get your ass on that plane!” That persistence turned out to be a very good thing, because what everyone really wanted to see, and hear, was Rick on guitar. With 17 studio albums, including his latest, Songs for the End of the World, which has been praised as “song for song Springfield’s strongest album,” that task was a cinch. Whether it was his seasons on “General Hospital” as Dr. Noah Drake or not, there was already end of film evidence of Rick’s acting repertoire to seal the part. The singer and songwriter definitely has an authentic rock ‘n roll goods, including a dangerous rear-end, that will in got him in court, but he won against the suit.
What is also purely authentic is the chemistry between Springfield and Streep on camera. Besides the music, both are devoted parents and spouses, who keep family as priority, so it’s no wonder that those emotions surface so naturally, as the character, Ricki, is working to reclaim her relationship with her children. Rick also praises that his costar “learned guitar enough to completely sell it,” and that because she’s such a great actress, she doesn’t fake anything between them. Both Springfield and Streep had bonding time on the set with their kids. Meryl’s daughter, Mamie Gummer, is a stealer in all the right ways, and Springfield’s son, Josh, worked as a production assistant on the film. Every morning, dad would come in and hug his son, and give his hair a loving toss, until one morning, when the son was asked by security, “What’s going on between you and Rick Springfield?” Not wanting to play the “that’s my dad” card, he obediently toned the morning ritual down. One wonders what would’ve happened if the curious crewmate had known Springfield stars in “True Detective,” too.