Around these parts, we’re all very proud of Corey Moss and Josh Morrisroe, two former MTV News employees who recently directed a damn fine documentary that hits DVD this week. It’s called “Dear Jack,” and it’s the heartbreaking, uplifting tale of Something Corporate/Jack’s Mannequin frontman Andrew McMahon’s battle with leukemia. I can remember a few years back, when Josh and Corey were assigned to do a story on Andrew – and it turned out to be so much more.
“We were both working at MTV, and I got a call on a Sunday morning from a publicist friend of mine who invited me down for a studio visit - I called Josh and said, ‘Hey man, I know it’s a Sunday, but can you come down and help me shoot this thing?’ We went, but we didn’t really know exactly what it was,” said Moss, who also wrote the film and tracked down none other than Tommy Lee to narrate it.
“It turned out that Andrew was in between rounds of chemotherapy," Moss continued. "And he was out of the hospital for basically that one day. He was recording a song he had written for his sister, who was donating her stem cells. It was, by far, the most moving shoot that I had ever been a part of.”
That was the beginning of the DVD that goes on sale this week, and the footage in it is as profoundly moving as any Hollywood blockbuster.
“[McMahon] had gotten a camera from his label to do video diary, web stuff,” Moss said of the incredible self-shot footage that shows Andrew going from healthy to sick, shaving his head and more.
“He had been in New York doing a show and all of a sudden felt really sick, and happened to have the camera with him when he went to the doctor [and got the news],” Morrisroe added. “[When we got it], we were thinking 'well okay, how are we going to make a movie out of this?' We had to sit down and come up with a plan of what we needed to shoot, and what would make this whole thing work.”
The end result is Andrew interacting with his loved ones, navigating relationship difficulties and playing the music that his fans have come to love, all while battling a life-threatening disease.
“The bottom line is that we’ve all been touched by this disease in some way, shape or form, whether it’s a relative or a friend,” Morrisroe explained. “The movie’s not just about his music, the movie’s about the disease and how you can survive and overcome it through positive thinking and the right people around you.”
“The thing I loved the most about the movie is that, if you’ve seen the trailer or you do know a little bit about Andrew, then you come in with this being something that is entirely about cancer, but our story has a whole other story, a love story,” Corey added. “And it’s a really beautiful story… it surprises people who are just expecting the standard biopic.”
Whether you’re a Jack’s Mannequin fan or not, be sure to check out “Dear Jack,” and let us know what you think in the comment section below!