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The Songs: Cornell goes tender for 'Machine Gun Preacher'

December 07, 2011|Todd Martens | Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
(Don Van Cleave )

Chris Cornell | "The Keeper" | "Machine Gun Preacher"

Chris Cornell wasn't going to pretend to understand the motivations of Sam Childers, the former violent criminal turned unlikely charitable hero portrayed by Gerard Butler in "Machine Gun Preacher."

"I could have written a double album just on this story," Cornell said. "There was a minute where I was tempted to just write a whole album based on this guy's life. This is all [before having] seen the movie."

Cornell's acoustic song "The Keeper" plays near the end of "Machine Gun Preacher," coming after audiences have seen Childers transform into a man who risks his life to create a haven for refugee children in Africa. It was Childers' aggressive and unconventional path that had Cornell initially touching on a variety of approaches, be it Southern rock or gospel salvation. In the end, he settled on neither.

"The approach I took was the focus on the tender side, evoking this folk rhythm and ambience," Cornell said. "This guy, unlikely as it would seem, is an incredible humanitarian. The film defies all the stereotypes, and that led me to a feeling for creating something that embodies a socially conscious attitude."

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