Interview: Director Albert Magnoli describes working with Prince and making 'Purple Rain'


Jill Riley and Purple Rain Director Albert Magnoli
Jill Riley and Purple Rain Director Albert Magnoli (Anna Weggel | MPR)
Albert Magnoli Interview
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Like most stories in Prince's orbit, the story of how Albert Magnoli came to direct Purple Rain is charming. In town to host a question and answer session at the Twin Cities Film Fest screening of the 1984 classic, Magnoli spoke with The Current's Jill Riley about the first time he met Prince, and the making of the film.

Magnoli met with Steve Fargnoli and Chick Huntsberry at the hotel in Minneapolis where Prince was staying. When Prince emerged, they went for a late dinner where Magnoli made his pitch. "After I told him the story, he got very quiet and he said, 'Let's take a ride.'" Driving through dark country roads outside of Minneapolis, they sat quietly. "After about 10 minutes of silence, [Prince] said "How do you know me?" and 'I said I know you from 'Little Red Corvette,' the video, and the album '1999,' that's about it.' and he said "how is it, then that you tell me my life story in 10 minutes?"

Magnoli also described the iconic August 3, 1983 debut performance of "Purple Rain" at First Avenue, and how that night led to the titling of the movie.

On two good fall days - October 31 and November 1, 1983, Magnoli and crew filmed two of Purple Rain's most memorable scenes: the motorcycle rides near Henderson, Minnesota, and the next day, Appolonia's frigid dive into "Lake Minnetonka."

In a final, touching moment, Magnoli tearfully describes the youthful, hopeful drive he and Prince shared to make the film both creative and authentic.

Use the audio player above to hear the full conversation, or download the interview from the Prince Remembered podcast on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

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    Director Albert Magnoli attends the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) screening of "Purple Rain" in Beverly Hills, August 29, 2016. / AFP / VALERIE MACON (Photo credit should read VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images) (VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)