Prince made his directorial debut in 1986 with Under The Cherry Moon, a project that undoubtedly split his fanbase. While the musical comedy-drama is far from a cinematic masterclass, it was a project that provided Kristin Scott Thomas with her first break in the film industry. Decades later, Prince would even write a song in tribute to his lifelong friend.
Scott Thomas has had a revered career, but before Prince handed her the breakthrough role, she’d never even been in a major feature film. It was a surreal experience for the budding actor in her early 20s; like everybody on the planet with a predisposition for groove during this period, she was obsessed with ‘The Purple One’. Later, she describes the chance to work so closely with him as an “out of body experience”.
Truthfully, Under The Cherry Moon wasn’t the dream start to her career in Hollywood, and the film was drastically declared the winner in five categories at the Golden Raspberry Awards. Not only did the movie win the ‘Worst Picture’ category, but Prince was also named ‘Worst Director’, and Scott Thomas was declared the ‘Worst New Star’.
Although critics universally slammed the film as woeful, it did help Scott Thomas break into Hollywood, sparking a friendship between the duo in the process. Additionally, they even went on a “semi-date” while on-set to see a Woody Allen movie together. “I’d been listening to Prince all summer,” Scott Thomas later reflected about the process. “I was reading these lines, and I saw this little huddle around the camera and this… and then eventually somebody came forward, the American casting director came forward and said, ‘Would you like to audition for the lead?’. I found myself being invited to meet Prince, who was my absolute idol. The sort of thing that would never ever happen to anyone I ever knew,” she noted.
The Darkest Hour star also described the experience as an “out-of-body situation” in reference to the significance of the moment, later adding: “I met Prince, and we did a little sort of audition and then got the job. And that was my first film.”
‘His Royal Badness’ looked wistfully upon Scott Thomas on the 2009 track ‘Better With Time’, which is a celebration of their friendship, a relationship that lasted from Under The Cherry Moon right up until the musician’s sudden death in 2016. Prince sings on the first verse: “This might seem strange, since so much time has passed, And since only one of us, still looks the same, your words not mine, baby, you’re still fine yes you are, like wine, you get better with time, so young and so naive, that I never once believed, that the memory of you would go through, like wind goes through the trees.”
Following his shock passing in 2016, Scott Thomas was understandably devastated. Releasing a tribute, she commented: “I can’t believe that this person, who has been in my life for 30 years, is no longer there. But he is immortal by his music.”
Under The Cherry Moon won’t be filed within the career highlights of Prince. However, on a more personal level, it allowed his path to collide with Scott Thomas, which provided the singer with more nourishment than any accolade could.