| I’ll Do Anything is an unreleased soundtrack for the James L. Brooks movie I’ll Do Anything, with songs written by Prince. The album features eight tracks sung by actors Nick Nolte, Albert Brooks, Tracey Ullman, Julie Kavner, Whittni Wright (all of whom had a part in the movie) and by singer Melissa Etheridge.
The project began when Prince was approached in 1992 by James L. Brooks to write original songs for his planned movie musical I’ll Do Anything. Carole King and Sinead O’Connor were also asked to contribute. Prince wrote and recorded ten new songs between mid-late March 1992 at Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, Minnesota and mid-April 1992, in Australia while on the Diamonds And Pearls Tour: I’ll Do Anything, Make Believe, My Little Pill, Don’t Talk 2 Strangers, Poor Little Bastard, The Rest Of My Life, There Is Lonely, Be My Mirror, Wow and I Can’t Love U Anymore. An eleventh track, Empty Room was pulled from the vault and also considered, but was not re-recorded for the project by the actors.
Of the proposed songs, eight were considered for the movie and were subsequently re-recorded by the cast and unidentified musicians for the soundtrack and musical scenes: Wow, Make Believe, My Little Pill, There Is Lonely, Be My Mirror, I Can’t Love U Anymore, Don’t Talk 2 Strangers, I’ll Do Anything.
Wow was re-recorded by the ensemble cast for the movie, basically as a solo vocal performance by Tracey Ullman (who also sings lead on Don’t Talk 2 Strangers) and was weaved into the movie at six different points during a rough cut of the movie. Five versions of Wow were recorded, one of them using the music of Sexy M.F.. Two versions of Make Believe in the movie were made to appear at three different points in the movie : one by actress Julie Kavner and the second by the ensemble cast. My Little Pill was also sung by Julie Kavner, as was an early version of I Can’t Love U Anymore. After a first test screening and sub-par reactions to her vocals, a second version of I Can’t Love U Anymore produced by Don Was with Melissa Etheridge on lead vocals was recorded. Was also produced the new versions of There Is Lonely and I’ll Do Anything sung by Albert Brooks. Nick Nolte re-recorded Be My Mirror as a duet with Whittni Wright who played the role of his young daughter in the movie.. Prince was not involved in the re-recording sessions, which also comprised a medley of some of the songs and a track called DNG Groove (containing no input by Prince), which was placed as an intro for I Can’t Love U Anymore. Poor Little Bastard was re-recorded by Hollye Leven but was not kept for the movie. Two other songs without Prince input ("This Lonely Life" by Sinead O’Connor and "You Are The Best" by Carole King) also appeared in the first cuts of the movie but were not planned for the soundtrack album.
After different test-screenings, and overwhelmingly negative reactions to the music, all production numbers from the film were cut, and the proposed album was canceled. James L. Brooks shot new scenes and I’ll Do Anything was released in 1994 as a satirical comedy-drama film and not a musical. Despite the new editing, the film was a commercial and critical failure. None of the songs Prince wrote specifically for the movie were used in the film or the released original motion picture score, which is made of four instrumentals composed by Hans Zimmer and a track ("You Are The Best") written by Carole King and sung by Whittni Wright.
None of the re-recorded Prince tracks by the I’ll Do Anything cast saw the light of the day. Prince would later release his own versions of some of the songs planned for this project:
- In 1995, Prince made a video for Empty Room, which was not recorded for the film, but offered for consideration. A live version recorded during a soundcheck in 2002 was released as a download by the NPG Music Club and later included on the C-Note album. A rehearsal take with 3rdEyeGirl was streamed on YouTube in 2014.
Be My Mirror, Wow, I Can’t Love U Anymore, I’ll Do Anything, Make Believe, and Poor Little Bastard remain unreleased.