The stories about Casablanca Records are legendarily insane. Some center around the tall tales of the wildly successful independent label founded by producer Neil Bogart in 1973 that briefly shot to global dominance during the disco era thanks releasing landmark albums by everyone from Kiss to Donna Summer, the Village People, George Clinton’s Parliament and Cher. They also, invariably, lead to equally bonkers accounts of shady accounting, mountains of debt (and cocaine) and wild accounts of the lengths Bogart would go to promote his acts.
Sounds like a movie, right? Well, on March 31 that biopic, Spinning Gold, will hit theaters with an all-star cast of characters re-telling the improbable tale of Bogart’s rocket ride to the heights, and depths, of the music business. The film’s official trailer dropped on Thursday (Dec. 15) and it gives just a little taste of the whirlwind ride Bogart took the industry on while providing sneak peeks at Wiz Khalifa as Clinton, Jeremy Jordan as the label boss, Ledisi as Gladys Knight, Jason DeRulo as Ronald Isley, Pink Sweat$ as Bill Withers and Tayla Parx as Summer.
The trailer for the film directed and written by Bogart’s’ son, Timothy Scott Bogart, opens with Casablanca’s jaw-dropping sales figures (200 million records), while showing a frizzy-haired Jordan strutting through the label’s chaotic offices while ticking off a list of the famous roster, including Summer (born LaDonna Adrian Gaines), who blanches at her new bosses’ decision to change her name because “everything is hotter in the summer.”
With Kiss’ 1975 hit “Rock and Roll All Nite” blasting in the background, the fairy tale story quickly begins to unravel, though, as Bogart is seen facing more than $7 million of red ink, which, of course, inspires him to punch out the bearer of bad news, as one’s boss does. There are briefcases full of cash, threats of a hit put out by rival Motown Records, phone calls to the Mafia to ask for a little help with that whole situation and Bogart placing a giant bet on a couple of kids from Queens (Kiss’ Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons) who had dreams of being the biggest rock stars in the world.
“Their mix of creative insanity, a total belief in each other and the music they were creating, shaped our culture and ultimately defined a generation,” reads a description of the film. “In a story so unbelievable that it can only be true, comes the motion picture event of the musical journey of Neil Bogart and how his Casablanca Records created the greatest soundtrack of our lives.”
Watch the Spinning Gold trailer below.