Rawkus1167 has some facts right but not others. Evans had a "coffee table" book about the Cotton Club era. With money he got from Adnan Khassoghi, he hired Mario Puzo to write a first draft. The first draft seemed to encompass all of Bob's problems with Ali having left him for Steve Mc Queen, and their son not being in his custody, it was set in the 20s and 30s. There was a novel, but it bears no resemblance to anything up on the silver screen. It took 9 months to even uncover any photos of the actual club, which had been raised in the 60s or 70s.
Bob was going to direct the movie. The movie originally was supposed to cost around 23 million and suddenly went up closer to 60 million after Francis came on board.. Bob lost his house twice on the film, and his brother Charlie got it back for him once and I think jack Nicholson the second time. After a couple of weeks of bounced checks from the production company, we insisted to have an armoured truck cash our checks moments after they were handed out
Francis and Bill Kennedy rewrote the Puzo script. Francis fired most of the crew and brought in many of his own people from Zoetrope, because he felt Bob's people would not be loyal to him.
The talent of the dancers and the production crew ie: Production Design and Costume Design, Choreographer,etc. also were responsible for the movie being good. While making the film we all referred to it as "All dressed up no place to go!" or the "Rotten Club." People had signs on their office doors with things like, "240th Day of Captivity", etc.
If you want to know what went on behind the scenes read "Designing Movies- Portrait of a Hollywood Artist." Due out next month from Greenwood Publishing Group.
If anyone should have been nominated for an Oscar� for that movie it would have been Milena Canonero who not only designed costumes for the teens, twenties, and thirties, she also designed show costumes, every day wear as well as evenng garb. That's like 6 different categories of wardrobe. And there was a huge cast to costume. Yet her work went unnoticed by the Academy or her peers in the Costumers union.
We sent this account of events to Bob. Bet he disputes it. Beautiful photo of Anthea, who DID win for her movie work.
If the link doesn't come through, interested parties can email me.