Robert Plant was reportedly so moved by the upcoming indie film The Friend, the singer allowed for two Led Zeppelin songs to appear in the movie.
Filmmakers usually face a steep fee when they endeavor to include Led Zeppelin’s music in a movie. Considering The Friend was made on a $10 million budget, it’s unlikely director Gabriela Cowperthwaite could afford to put one of the band’s songs in the film, let alone two; Deadline reported that, under normal circumstances, the Zeppelin songs would have cost a third of The Friend‘s budget.
However, when the drama premiered Friday at the Toronto International Film Festival, Led Zeppelin’s “Going to California” and “Ramble On” both featured in The Friend, with approval for their inclusion coming just days before the premiere; a backup cut that employed different music was also made.
The Friend retells the real-life story of Nicole Teague, played by Dakota Johnson, who died at the age of 36 of ovarian cancer. In the months before Teague’s death, her friend Dane (played by Jason Segel) moved in with Teague and her husband Matthew (Casey Affleck in the film) to help the family in her final months; Nicole Teague was also a big Led Zeppelin fan.
According to Deadline, Cowperthwaite and producer Ridley Scott penned letters to the three surviving Led Zeppelin members asking them to waive the usually astronomical fee as well as inviting them to see the film. Plant reportedly took them up on the offer and viewed The Friend.
“[Plant] wrote that while the film was a tough one to sit through, it was beautiful and strong. He congratulated the filmmakers and added he felt that the positioning of the two songs was poignant, sensitive and beautiful,” Deadline said. “Soon after, the band gave them a break and made it possible for the songs to remain in the film.”
The deal with publishers Warner/Chappell finalized just days before the Toronto premiere, The Friend screened with the Led Zeppelin songs included.