Burt Bacharach is going strong at 87.
Not only is the classic songwriter still touring, but he has now agreed to write the score for the upcoming motion picture Po.
Directed by John Asher and starring Christopher Gorham (Covert Affairs), Julian Feder (Weiner Dog franchise) as Po, and Kaitlin Doubleday (Empire), Po tells the story of a recently widowed father struggling to raise his 10-year-old son who has autism.
Bacharach and Asher met by chance a year ago on a flight from New York to Los Angeles. Bacharach, whose own daughter Nikki struggled with Asperger's Syndrome (high-functioning autism), agreed to let Asher use his song Close to You in the film. Then, Bacharach saw an early screening of the film last month and was so moved by the magic of Po that he offered to score the entire film. Bacharach shares, "I was so touched by the film that scoring it was a labor of love."
Bacharach has written 73 U.S. Top 40 hits, won eight Grammy Awards (including the 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award and 1997 Trustees Award with collaborator Hal David), and three Academy Awards, including Best Music-Original Song for Arthur and Best Music-Original Song and Original Score for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Bacharach found early success with lyricist Hal David, delivering numerous hits for Dionne Warwick, Tom Jones and The Carpenters, to name just a few. Bacharach and David were the recipients of the 2013 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, an award previously awarded to Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney.
Asher is thrilled to have such a legend on-board to help tell this emotionally powerful story. Asher shares, "I've been working on Po for eight years, beginning shortly after my son was diagnosed with autism. While it has been a long time, every step of the way has been blessed by destiny, such as getting a seat next to Burt after missing a flight. It was a great honor working with Burt recording the music of Po. He is so talented and the score is completely breathtaking. He took a good movie and made it great."
Autism affects one out of every 68 children born today, according to the advocacy organization Autism Speaks, who have lent their support to the film. In an effort to raise awareness, Asher reached out to the public to gather names of individuals affected by autism to be included in the closing sequence of the film. What makes the film so powerful is that it delivers a rare mix of world class Hollywood storytelling based on completely authentic events, in that Asher, Gorham and the writers, Colin Goldman and Steve C. Roberts all have children with autism.