Monroe movie filming moved back

“Blue Moon of Kentucky,” a movie based on the life and loves of Bill Monroe, had been scheduled to begin filming in March.

But Terry Woodward, vice chairman of the board of trustees at the International Bluegrass Music Museum, said Wednesday that production has been moved back to April.

Woodward, who recently sat in on a day of recording in Nashville for the movie’s soundtrack, said Finn Taylor, the movie’s director, told him that he plans to “definitely shoot some scenes in Kentucky.”

Last summer, Trevor Jolly, the movie’s producer, said in an e-mail that he was “hoping to shoot scenes at Rosine and Owensboro.”

Several big names have been lined up for the movie about the “father of bluegrass music,” Woodward said.

But the lead role as Bill Monroe is open, he said.

Peter Sarsgaard was slated for the role but had a scheduling conflict, Woodward said.

But Sarsgaard’s wife, Maggie Gyllenhaal, who was nominated for an Oscar for her role in 2009’s “Crazy Heart,” is still scheduled to portray Bessie Lee Mauldin, Monroe’s “road girlfriend,” Woodward said.

He said Ed Helms (“The Office,” “The Hangover”) has been cast as Earl Scruggs. Helms actually plays banjo and performs in a bluegrass band — “The Lonesome Trio” — when he’s not acting.

Sam Shepard has been cast as Pendleton Vandiver, Monroe’s “Uncle Pen,” Woodward said. Ashley Judd will appear as Monroe’s estranged wife, Carolyn.

And bluesman Keb Mo is doing the music for Arnold Shultz, the black Ohio County guitarman who was a major influence on Monroe, he said.

Woodward said actor John C. Reilly, who performed as a musician in 2007’s “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story,” is also scheduled to be in “Blue Moon.”

The movie’s soundtrack is being produced by Joseph Henry “T-Bone” Burnett, who produced the soundtrack for “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”

“They’re finished with the soundtrack,” Woodward said. “”T-Bone is really excited about it. It really sounds good.”

Woodward owns the fiddle of Monroe’s uncle, Pendleton Vandiver, which was used on the soundtrack.

The day he visited the recording session, Earl Scruggs, Ricky Skaggs, Patty Loveless and Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys were among the musicians in the studio, he said.

The movie is the story of Monroe and his sometimes stormy relationship with Mauldin, beginning in 1938 and continuing into the 1970s.

Richard D. Smith, author of the 2000 Monroe biography, “Can’t You Hear Me Callin’,” wrote that the romance inspired several major bluegrass songs, including “Blue Moon of Kentucky.”

Their child, which Mauldin gave up for adoption, according to the book, inspired the song, “My Little Georgia Rose.”

Mauldin, a bass player with Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys off and on for two decades, played on 99 of Monroe’s recordings.

Thompson describes Mauldin — “The Carolina Songbird”— as “a hefty blond, flashy dresser, strong, spirited and quite earthy.”

Monroe’s wife, Carolyn, finally accused him of adultery and divorced him in 1960.

The divorce decree forbade Monroe from marrying Mauldin as long as Carolyn Monroe lived.

Maudlin died Feb. 8, 1983, after suffering a heart attack at 63.

Carolyn Monroe outlived her by nearly 18 months, dying on July 31, 1984.

Monroe died on Sept. 9, 1996.

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