Augustine Frizzell directed The Last Letter from Your Lover starring Felicity Jones, Shailene Woodley, Callum Turner, Nathan Rizwan, and Joe Alwyn. The film hit Netflix last week, but before it premiered, I got to talk to Frizzell about what it was like working with HAIM, who released an original song titled “Cherry Flavored Stomach Ache” for the film, and her involvement in the curation of the movie’s soundtrack.
The producers of The Last Letter from Your Lover had approached Augustine Frizzell with the idea of featuring an original song in the movie. Frizzell admits that “initially, [she] was hesitant to do it.” She had a very clear idea of the kinds of songs she wanted in the film, and a brand new song wasn’t necessarily part of that plan. Eventually warming up to the idea, HAIM “was at the top of that list” of artists she thought would fit the feel of the film.
“I had a list of songs that I really wanted to use in the movie, actually. Most of them were from the ‘60s, or somewhere in that era, or at least had a ‘60s type feel. I didn’t want anything that clashed with that. I wanted something that felt in that vein.”
Speaking about HAIM and what drew her to them, Frizzell had only great things to say: “I just thought they were so hip, and they have such a cool sound that is modern, I know it is, but there’s a retro vibe to all the music that they make. They get that really well, and I thought they would be a good match. Then we reached out to them, they watched an early rough cut of the film, and they came back to us and immediately said yes. That was a dream.”
While establishing the framework for the direction of the film, she originally curated a playlist that “was kind of long with a lot of stuff in it,” so she shared that playlist with HAIM for inspiration. She told me that “the majority of the songs in the movie were in [her] initial playlist.” In fact, “Give You What I Want” by Wendy Rene and “Summer Wine” by Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood were on that initial playlist. Harry Nelson’s “Everybody’s Talking” was the temp song used as a placeholder in the scene that HAIM’s song eventually occupied.
Frizzell shared an “early rough cut” of the movie and talked with HAIM “a couple of times” before they shared what they had worked on. She wanted HAIM to write something with “a similar vibe” to the Nelson song that “had some movement to it” and “felt upbeat.” They sent her one song that she says was “very beautiful, but the feel was just a little off.”
After another talk, HAIM came back with this song, “Cherry Flavored Stomach Ache,” and she “flipped out” saying, “they so nailed it. They so nailed the total feeling of Ellie, and her world, and what it’s like to be a woman in the modern day, and the spot for the movie, it’s just perfect. I couldn’t be more excited.” She didn’t have any notes for the song, but HAIM still wanted to go back in and add their own embellishments. The result, she says, is “what [she] always hoped for.”
Having previously directed the pilot episode of the HBO series, Euphoria, Frizzell teased that she will be tapping back into the teen drama realm: “I do have something that I’m writing that’s back in the teen, coming-of-age genre, a little darker, kind of taps into my own past a bit. So that’s on the slate.” In addition to that project, she is also working on a children’s book series “[she loves] that has been beautifully adapted.” All of her upcoming work is so varied, and she touched on that saying, “Everything that’s lined up that’s in development, it’s all so different.”
The Last Letter From Your Lover is now streaming on Netflix.