Prince's greatest talent? Self-confidence, says the manager who landed 'Purple Rain'

Jon Bream, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on

Published in Entertainment News

On getting a new contract:

After the release of "1999," Prince's contract with the L.A.-based firm of Cavallo, Ruffalo & Fargnoli was due to expire. CRF offered a new five-year deal but he wouldn't sign it unless they got him a movie.

"'And it can't be financed by some drug dealer or jeweler,'" Cavallo remembered Prince telling him. "'And it has to be a major studio and my name has to be above the title.'"

Cavallo enlisted the writer of "Brian's Song," a successful 1971 TV movie. That initial version of the screenplay "was 'Purple Rain' but very TV and not very cool. Every director in town turned me down."

So did possible financiers including David Geffen. Cavallo got a bite from Richard Pryor's film company, which was run by Jim Brown, the football great turned actor. But Brown wanted to wait until Prince went on tour again and "got more famous." Said Cavallo: "Prince is not a guy who waits."

On his faith in Prince:


"I wasn't sure how his dialogue -- his acting -- was going to go. But I had a perhaps naive belief that the kid could do anything. I watched him rehearse for years. No one had the attention to detail he had. I thought, 'He'll figure a way to do it.'

"Of all the talents he had -- and they were huge -- the one that blew me away the most was his confidence."

The 1984 film wound up grossing $70 million. "On a $2 ticket or whatever it was," he boasted. "That's the equivalent of $250 million today."

On Prince's nerves:


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