Film Scouts on the Riviera 2000

2000 Cannes Film Festival Diaries
Who Does Number 2 Work For?

by Richard Schwartz

Film Scouts on the Riviera 2000 is presented by:

CANNES, May 16, 2000 - Three years ago it was the Spice Girls who stormed the beach and gave a mini-concert that marked one of their few performances together as a quintet. And that weighty legacy continues tonight as the British girl group All Saints make their red-carpet debut to promote "Honest," a midnight cult flick starring the band. It seems the bubble gum pop sounds of Natalie and Nicole Appleton, Melanie Blatt and Shaznay Lewis are all the rage in the U.K. and, love 'em or hate 'em, the group seems poised for American stardom, potentially helped by the breakout in this, their film debut.

And the man responsible for this potential pop culture phenomenon? None other than Dave Stewart.

No, not the former Oakland A's pitcher Dave Stewart. Rather the Dave Stewart who was the number-two man in the '80s synth pop duo The Eurythmics. That's right, the funky-looking, bearded guy who supported Annie Lennox on "Sweet Dreams" and "Here Comes The Rain Again." That Dave Stewart is now an auteur. He has made this film - honest - and, as a first-time director at Cannes, he finds himself eligible for the Camera D'or, an award given to the top first-time filmmaker. That's a long way to come for a sideman.

In fact, Dave Stewart's relative success has given us pause and forced us to ponder the fortunes of other much-maligned partners in similarly uneven musical relationships. It's the kinda ground they never really cover on popular shows like VH1's "Behind the Music," choosing instead to focus on the main stars. Well, in honor of Mr. Stewart's film debut, we pay tribute to a venerable roster of pop music second bananas:

- Andrew Ridgeley of Wham! ("Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," "Freedom") George Michael picked the only other dude who could actually make him look straight by comparison, and he did have some of us fooled for at least a couple years. After a bitter parting, Ridgeley went on to drive race cars. He has not yet directed a feature film.

- John Oates of Hall & Oates ("Rich Girl," "Maneater"). Last seen parodied in a hilarious "Saturday Night Live" sketch claiming to be the innovator of the "clap" break during the chorus of "Private Eyes." Really, the whereabouts of this kinky-haired, mustachioed foil to Darryl Hall was in serious question for the better part of a decade. The duo has recently resurfaced, however, hitting the Vegas circuit and occasional county fairs. Oates still claps. But he has not yet directed a feature film.

- The Captain of The Captain & Tenille ("Muskrat Love," "Love Will Keep Us Together"). The romance fell apart, and the musical partnership followed. Rumor has it that Toni Tenille found a new captain. Wonder if the old captain found a new line of work. It's certainly not in the movie business because he has yet to direct a feature film.

- Curt Smith of Tears For Fears ("Everybody Wants to Rule the World," "Shout"). After being booted from the band by number-one guy Roland Orzabal, Smith seemed to take a sabbatical from pop music. As did the band, for it has yet to duplicate its success of the mid-to-late '80s. Neither Smith or Orzabal has directed a feature film.

- Crofts from Seals & Crofts ("Summer Breeze"). No idea. But a cursory search of the Internet Movie Data Base reveals that he, too, has yet to direct a feature film.

That's just the tip of the iceberg. We didn't even mention Peaches and Herb. Or England Dan and John Ford Coley. Or Jan and Dean. Or the Fine Young Cannibals. And we could go on.

But the fact remains. None of them have ever directed a movie. None of them except Dave Stewart.

Sweet Dreams, Dave.

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