Anyone who has spent years obsessing over the life and work of Jonathan Demme was dealt a brutal blow earlier today when it was revealed that the great filmmaker -- one of the most vibrant and original cinematic voices of his generation -- died due to complications from esophageal cancer and heart disease. This put an end to an astonishing career that has inspired the loyalty and devotion of cinephiles for over four decades.
When Storefront Demme ("the original, unofficial, almost-definitive Jonathan Demme website") was launched in 2002, it was really just an excuse for me to delve deeper into a favourite director's fascinating body of work. I spent countless hours transcribing interviews, reporting on upcoming projects, and generally digging around for anything and everything Demme-related. This site ultimately disappeared in 2007 (due to other obligations and the increasingly daunting breadth of Demme material available online), but my preoccupation with his work lived on, as did the lessons learned during my intense immersion in all things Demme.
In my research, I was always particularly impressed by the extreme good will that seemed to follow wherever he went. For evidence of this, look no further than the countless tributes that poured in after his death was announced. Among those who seized the opportunity to praise Demme are some of his most cherished collaborators, including David Byrne, Roger Corman, Jodie Foster, Tom Hanks, Robyn Hitchcock, Anthony Hopkins, Bruce Springsteen, Meryl Streep, and many more.
Now that there is likely to be a surge in curiosity about Jonathan Demme, it seemed like a good time to revive some of the content that once comprised Storefront Demme. While much of the material from the old site is now obsolete -- or in need of heavy re-organization -- a few of the core sections remain in tact, specifically the sections devoted to Interviews and Articles, Roger Corman, and Pauline Kael. In the weeks and months ahead, I may restore more sections of the old site and/or post additional updates, but for now, think of this as a modest tribute to one of the greats. -- Jonathan Doyle