And up now… Adam Shankman -the director. During the interview Adam spoke about how he got the job, the casting process, how he’s loved the material for most of his life, and a ton of other stuff. The thing that’s great about the interview is just how honest he was. Sometimes when you participate in an interview you know that the person speaking is completely full of shit. They’re sitting across from you telling a bunch of lies like this is the best movie they’ve been in, or how this sequel is the best yet. Of course you can’t call them out on their lies as you want to get invited to the next event they’ve doing… So I always love it when the interviewee is honest about the filmmaking process. During the interview Adam tells many behind the scenes stories – he talks about how he originally got passed for the job, how he made them cast an unknown in the lead and made it incredibly hard to find If you’re looking forward to “Hairspray” or just want to read a good interview… take a read. As always, you can download the audio of the interview by
And up now… Adam Shankman -the director.
During the interview Adam spoke about how he got the job, the casting process, how he’s loved the material for most of his life, and a ton of other stuff.
The thing that’s great about the interview is just how honest he was. Sometimes when you participate in an interview you know that the person speaking is completely full of shit. They’re sitting across from you telling a bunch of lies like this is the best movie they’ve been in, or how this sequel is the best yet. Of course you can’t call them out on their lies as you want to get invited to the next event they’ve doing…
So I always love it when the interviewee is honest about the filmmaking process. During the interview Adam tells many behind the scenes stories – he talks about how he originally got passed for the job, how he made them cast an unknown in the lead and made it incredibly hard to find
If you’re looking forward to “Hairspray” or just want to read a good interview… take a read.
As always, you can download the audio of the interview by
“Hairspray” opens on July 20th.
Question: Did they come to you and want you to direct and choreograph?
Adam Shankman: It didn’t go down like that. I wanted to do it, I begged to do it and they ended up going with the director of the play and the choreographer of the play; they hired them. I was heartbroken and wanted to kill myself. And because of scheduling, they couldn’t do it, and so then everyone in
How much did your vision change from the first time to the second?
It was always the same?
Yeah, I had this; this has been in my head since the second I conceived it. I wish it was more difficult than that; I wish I could give you some fabulous story, but I can’t cause I’d be so lying like Matthew McConaughey tells me to do.
Did you go to Broadway and see it? Did you know the play?
Marc and Scott have been my best friends for over 20 years, so I was around when they were writing the songs. And I went to the tryouts in
What was the search for Tracy (Nikki Blonsky) like?
I think it was more of a nail biter for everyone else; for me, once I said yes, I assumed I was going to find her. I wasn’t like, ‘Ohhh my god, are we going to find her?’ We have to find her because we can’t do the movie if we can’t find her. So I’m hired so she’s going to be out there. But I had very stringent requirement which were a) in the tradition of the other two, I needed it to be a complete unknown – which pissed off every agent in
Was John Travolta attached when you came on?
He was in talks, they were talking to him, and they were really – he kept saying, ‘I don’t get it, why should I, why should I, why should I.’ And they were giving him every reason under the sun, and then once I came on – I also did a draft closer to what I would have done with it, because it was being written kind of in a vacuum for Jack and Jerry and then they were gone and still doing notes, but it had nothing to do. How do you write a musical number – you know what I mean – when you’re not the choreographer, how do you write that – you know what I mean – and you could tell, it was all like a lot of slugs. Nor can you do – I’m the ultimate person who makes decisions which songs were going to stay in and which songs were going to go; that was fun going, ‘Well, I’ve never liked this number so I’m tossing it,’ to Marc and Scott. And they’re going ‘Really?’ And there were a few of those. And it really didn’t go down like that, but in my head it did. But, it was great. But they were talking to John and I think it was my saying to him that it was because – by virtue of it being a musical, it lives above the normal world, I was going to do everything to keep it super real; everything was going to be as authentic as possible. And I was also approaching all the characters from an actually strangely internal and emotional way, given the themes of it and what was going on in the world; and then I was going to toss it to make sure it was still a comedy. And then I didn’t just say the word ‘great’ because I don’t necessarily thing everything I do is great, but…but it was at least a good comedy and certainly a faithful comedy.
You told Michelle Phieffer she had a piece of the set in her teeth – how did that exactly go down?
She just started laughing, of course. I said, ‘There’s big, and then there’s big. We may want to pull back a little bit.’ But I wanted everyone to feel that. With Jimmy Marsden, he said, ‘How far can I go?’ And I said, ‘How far is there?’ And I said, ‘And by the way, your name is Corny. Clue in, buddy.’ But with Michelle, she knew from our first meeting; I said, ‘I’m coming to you because of Catwoman because you not only got Selina Kyle, but Catwoman so right for me because you really made her physically and emotionally correct on both fronts. And I get how you work from that and I love you as a villain; and because you’re so beautiful, I want to punch you in the face. So this is all the requirements that I need from Velma; and I’m not going to redeem you and you are the symbol of all things wrong with the world.’ And she was like, ‘I’ll do it!’ No, it was a while – she was nervous, but once she got there, she saw what we were doing and it was fine. She went to that first read through and she and Claudia were crying and I had them.
Do you have an overall approach on the casting and the process of directing?
A little of both. A little secret, I’m the child of a shrink; I am, my mom’s a shrink, and my father’s a lawyer. So believe me, I analyze and negotiate. That is a huge amount of the director’s work, especially when you’re working with people who – such a variety. I have somebody who’s never stepped foot outside of
Can you talk about this coming out in the middle of summer?
How about it coming out after Don Imus did what he did, and Michael Richards, Elijah – Isaiah (Washington) – I have Elijah on my head. This is as relevant as anything and we are truly unusual. By the way, I’m miserable we’re coming out in the middle of summer, but I understand they need the kid dollars; I’m surrounded by Harry Potter and Simpsons and I’m opening up against Chuck and Larry.
This is relatable to today’s society.
Oh, like I said, this is ripped from the headlines, and I’m stunned this is still a problem. I grew up with – I understand we live in a stressed out world, but I can’t believe this country is the land of the free, the melting pot – it’s still afraid of anyone who’s different. And
What was the thought for not having the full cameo in the movie and having
When is Mama in the movie? It’s at the very, very, very end of the movie at the very end of the credits, which I just found out yesterday. How did you know that, that’s so crazy?
It was online or read somewhere.
No, we just thought that was fun because that’s like the second coming of Christ, yeah. So the three
It was on Entertainment Tonight the other night
Oh, it was, ok. Oh, the sound that I have to go. But yeah, I did not do any of that on purpose; it’s just how it all unfolded. No intention of that happening.
Who’s the other one; I know Rikki?
Marissa (Jaret Winokur) from Broadway.
Who is she in the movie?
She wasn’t in the movie; she sang it on the soundtrack. That song is very popular from the show and it’s repurposed inside of the movie as the ‘Stricken Chicken’ and so we thought it’d be fun to do it on the album.’
What are you doing next?
Adam Sandler movie called Bedtime Stories.
And the soundtrack of this is coming out?
You going to do Wicked?
I don’t know? Do we really want to see a lead actor on the screen who’s green?
(lots of yes’s)