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The Million Dollar Piano will soon be released on DVD and Blu-Ray – on June 30 in the UK and July 1 in America.  In March, the extravaganza came to cinemas worldwide, and marked the event by interviewing Chris Gero, the director and producer. We are re-running it below. Meanwhile, there’s a related competition which is closing soon (see ”Contests” for details) in which fans Down Under can win copies of the home release.

EJW: Did you create the catchy trailers for the film?
CG: Yes, we shot everything.
EJW: How did the idea come about?
CG: Originally, it was supposed to just be about the making of the piano, which was custom crafted for Elton. But it kept expanding, and we wound up shooting at a series of concerts.
EJW: Why did Elton decide he wanted another instrument?
CG: He wanted to follow up the Red Piano with something grander. He is interested in the latest and greatest, so we hired world class designers and architects.
EJW: You are involved with another movie as well, called 88. What’s it about, and why this title?
CG: I had read a New York Times article, which cited the ”death of the piano,” and called it a ”piece of furniture.” So I wanted to shoot piano artists talking about their genesis moments – why they started playing keyboards.
As for the name, there are 88 keys on a piano, and 88 artists in the movie. Elton is to be among them.
EJW: When might this be out?
CG: Probably not for a couple of years. We have a long way to go.
EJW: What other projects have the two of you worked on, and how did you meet?
CG: We worked on Yamaha‘s Red Piano {for his first Las Vegas engagement}. Also, I produced the 2003 NAMM concert, a tribute to the singer. It raised about $330,000 to benefit music education and research, and Elton also took part.
We became friends about 20 years ago, when Elton first came to Yamaha, looking for a replacement for his worn-out piano. He ended up with seven, and the company has been providing him with touring pianos ever since. 
EJW: Have you done anything for the EJAF?
CG: Yes, I’ve been a sponsor of an Academy Awards Viewing Party and White Tie and Tiara Ball.
EJW: Besides being Vice President and founder of the Yamaha Entertainment Group, your background includes being a songwriter and record producer. Have these accomplishments been as rewarding?
CG: They have. I enjoy building complex things, and love producing and being creative.

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