Glen Campbell: I'll be Me - Director James Keach Interview

November 10, 2014 10:51pm
Source: Glen Campbell Movie

This week we talk with Director James Keach abut his recent collaboration with Glenn Campbell and family for the music doc GLEN CAMPBELL: I’LL BE ME.

This portrait of the life and career of American music icon Glen Campbell opens to the viewer the world of the singular talent who created hits like Rhinestone Cowboy, Wichita Lineman and Gentle on My Mind. Winner of the Grammy for Lifetime Achievement award, Glen was the first country music star to cross over to the pop charts. In 2011, when Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, he joined forces with his family to fight the biggest battle of his life. Featuring interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Bill Clinton, The Edge, Paul McCartney, Jay Leno, Vince Gill and Steve Martin, Glen Campbell...I'll Be Me is an epic human story of love, resilience and the power of song.


Born in New York, has been a part of the film industry as an actor, director, writer, and producer. A graduate of Northwestern University and the Yale School of Drama, he received classical training as an actor at the New York Shakespeare Festival and was a founding member of the Body Politic Theater in Chicago. James has appeared in over fifty feature films and has produced and directed theater in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. His most recent success was Walk the Line, for which the Producerʼs Guild of America nominated him Motion Picture Producer of the Year. Walk the Line was also nominated for several Academy and Golden Globe awards, winning the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture and garnering Reese Witherspoon her Academy Award for Best Actress. In association with Clint Eastwood and Malpaso Productions, James directed the Warner Brothers feature film The Stars Fell on Henrietta, starring Robert Duvall. He received the Cable Ace Award for the cable feature The Forgotten that he co-wrote and directed. He also received the Western Heritage Award for Best Director for the series The Young Riders.

Other films James has produced include the feature The Experts for Paramount, and A Winner Never Quits for ABC, which won the Humanitas Award. He co-wrote and executive produced Armed and Dangerous for Columbia, and co-wrote, co-executive produced and starred in the classic western The Long Riders with his brother Stacy Keach. James and his wife, Jane Seymour formed Catfish Productions in 1993 and PCH Films in 2002. Since then Keach has produced and directed numerous films including Blind Dating, starring Chris Pine, Submerged, starring Sam Neill, Enslavement, The Absolute Truth, A Marriage of Convenience, Murder in the Mirror, Blackout, A Passion for Justice, Praying Mantis, Sunstroke, and the Dr. Quinn movie, Revolutions. Keach also directed and produced the award-winning documentary Disease of the Wind, which won the Lionel Rogosin Documentary Award and Audience Award Best Documentary at the Dallas Film Festival. In January 2010, James completed Waiting for Forever, which he directed and produced with Trevor Albert, a feature film starring Tom Sturridge, Rachel Blison, Richard Jenkins, Blythe Danner, and Nikki Blonsky.


Glen Campbell’s musical and entertainment lifetime, covering over five decades, is unmatched for its prolific breadth, popular appeal – and flat-out musical accomplishment and achievement. His biggest run of hits (“Gentle on My Mind,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Wichita Lineman,” “Galveston,” “Rhinestone Cowboy” and “Southern Nights” just to name a handful) put him in the pop elite of the late-‘60s and early-‘70s, erasing the line between pop and country and helping pave the way for generations of others. You could well call him the first countrypolitan star, though the sharecropper’s son from Delight, Arkansas never lost any of the pure country in his soul.

In addition to a successful solo career, Glen was also a first-call session guitarist whose picking helped shape Phil Spector’s famed “Wall of Sound” and the Beach Boys’ most creative works (the latter for whom he also became a touring member for a stretch when Brian Wilson first retired from the road in 1964).

His TV show, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, was a destination for the top artists of the era and an eye-opening look into American roots music for the mainstream. The combination of talents and personality that made him a TV star enabled him to transcend eras, remaining a hit-maker across decades as well as across genres.

In 2011, Glen released Ghost on the Canvas, a moving, engaging and inspirational song cycle that traces the arc of his remarkable life, love and faith. The album at once renewed and revitalized the spirit of classic Campbell albums and stood tall alongside them. USA Today hailed Ghost on the Canvas as “a museum- quality masterpiece,” while Rolling Stone noted: “The years have added an edge to his singing.”

Shortly after he recorded the album, Glen was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Undeterred, he embarked on a series of live dates that he dubbed “The Glen Campbell Goodbye Tour.” He was honored with a star-studded tribute at the Country Music Awards in 2011 and a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammy Awards in 2012.