Another crucial section of the film is set inside The Cotton Club, which we have renamed ‘The Cootin’ Club’ (I hate puns.) so it was really important for us to understand what The Cotton Club was like in the 1920’s. Just to give a quick history of The Cotton Club…
Cotton Club was legendary nightspot in the Harlem district of New York City that for years featured prominent black entertainers who performed for white audiences. In 1922 the club was taken over by Owen Madden, a well-known Manhattan gangster. The club played Jazz and Swing music. The club was closed in 1925 for selling alcohol, but quickly re-opened. After prohibition, the club continued to feature some of America’s best musicians, and attracted New York’s celebrities and socialites. The Cotton Club’s best years were from 1922 to 1935. Following the Harlem riots of 1935, the establishment moved to West 48th Street, but the club never regained its earlier success and was closed in 1940. It remains a very iconic part of New York City.
One again it was really important to understand how The Cotton Club works and also what the interior looked like, as well as what kind of music would be playing. We wanted to really capture the energy of the club which meant the needed to be perfect.
We also want to include a dancing scene where Frank dances which Betty for the first time! And this really inspired us:
This is some music that inspires us when writing the scene where Betty and Frank are falling in love: