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ENTERTAINMENT INTERVIEWS
Kevin Tancharoen Exclusive Interview – FAME
6/8/2008
Posted by
Frosty
     

 

Back in March, Nicole wrote about the remake of the movie Fame and how a young man named Kevin Tancharoen had been hired to direct it. At the time, we all wondered how a 23 year old choreographer could’ve gotten the gig and I’ll admit to thinking he might not have been the right choice for the film. But I have to say…after speaking with Kevin, he said all the right things and I definitely think he’s on the right track.

 

For those who haven’t heard of Fame…it’s a musical that came out in 1980 and it was directed by Alan Parker. The film follows a group of students through their studies at the New York High School of Performing Arts and it spawned a TV show and a musical that ran on Broadway and in London. You could say it was kind of popular. Anyway, as we’ve already reported, the film is getting a makeover with a new cast and new songs.

 

While I know a lot about many films, unfortunately, I’m not an expert on Fame, so when I was speaking with Kevin I did the best I could. Thankfully, I’m familiar enough with the original that I think I was able to find out some good info like…how much is the original film going to influence the new one. I also asked about the music, will it be an unknown cast, where are they filming, film or digital, and a lot more.

 

But before getting to the full interview…one of the things that Kevin said that gave me a lot of hope for the project was:

 

Kevin: As far as camera choreography, this is really an important thing to me, is that I know lately the style of coverage has been very popular which is like you know you get 10 cameras to shoot a dance scene and then you kind of edit it later.  Well, I’m going to go back to more single camera approach that made movies that Fosse did so popular and Buzby Burkely so popular.  I don’t understand why musical sequences or dance numbers can’t be storyboarded and paced out like as important as a monologue or a car chase.

 

Collider: I totally agree with you.

 

Kevin: Exactly.  I was just going to say that a dance scene has to have that crescendo and has to have that pacing and to me it would be a shame not to storyboard it and just kind of flesh it all out just as much as you would like I said a car chase because it could be that intense.

 

I think some of the films that Bob Fosse did were amazing, and anyone who invokes his name and says that they want to emulate him…well, they get my vote.

 

With Fame casting going on right now, I’d imagine we’re close to finding out who will be in the movie. But until this possible SAG strike gets resolved, I don’t think filming will be moving forward. But once the new contract is signed, I know this is a go project, so look for it maybe next year in theaters. Here’s the interview:

 

 

Collider: So for people who don’t know your bio--name and info--give me your 30-second bio.

 

Kevin Tancharoen: My name is Kevin Tancharoen and you know I came from the world of choreography. I grew up in dance and singing and that whole world.  I worked as a kid, working as a dancer and being in all those teen-driven musicals.  And then from there I ended up dancing for Britney Spears and N’Sync and then I choreographed for Britney and Madonna, worked on all the N’Sync tours, the Britney tours and I even directed Britney’s “Onyx Hotel” tour.  As soon as I was done with that I made a television show called “Dance Life” that ran on MTV and was executive produced by J-Lo and then I also directed the Pussycat Dolls show that was on the CW and I just am so immersed in the world of dance, music, pop culture and they hired me for “Fame” basically because I know this world since I was five. I grew up in the world of “Fame” and the people in the movie are my friends and I, you know, I was a dancer with a number on my chest and I was a choreographer, then I was like the director hiring the dancers and then I directed stage tours, then I directed television, and then I directed a couple music videos and things like that. So me just moving onto this movie was a natural progression. The thing about this movie that I think is absolutely fantastic is that we have a chance to you know in the world where movies like “Step Up 2” and “Stomp the Yard” and “You Got Served” and all those are very popular - like the genre is really popular.  What I want to do is make a movie more about young characters and what teenagers go through, what young artists go through, and the fact that they’re talented happens to be like the frosting on the cake.  So the musical numbers are all going to mean something to the storyline.  It’s going to mean something to the characters.  It’s not just going to be a dance scene just for the pure sake of having a dance scene.  Since they’re in a performing arts school there’s a reason why they’re going to be performing all these numbers.  It’s not going to be like break down the song, turn the camera and start chasseing down the aisle of the hallway or something.

 

Collider: So let me ask you, there’s obviously been a movie made—how much is the original film going to be in this movie?

 

Kevin: Well, the original…you know its sort of a more of a reimagination of the movie.  The only thing being taken from the first film is that it’s purely about young teenagers set in a school of performing arts and that’s all we’re taking from the first one, and we just are all completely new characters.  We’re treating it like the other characters were, you know, it’s not like they’re in the alma mater.  It’s not like they used to go to this school.  It’s a completely new environment, it’s just set in a performing arts school and that’s pretty much all that’s about the same.

 

Collider: And what about… I’m not as familiar with the original musical as some people.  Obviously there’s music—how many of the original songs or original stuff that you guys are incorporating?  Is it a lot of new stuff?

 

Kevin: It’s going to be some new and some new mixed with the old, but at the same time I’m not going to…I guess hip-hopify it.  I’m not going like you know take the old songs and remix it and make it like hip and cool.  We’re going to take some of the elements that made the original very fantastic; we’re also going to incorporate some new contemporary ideas and music into it as well.

 

Collider: Have you already gone out for…who are you getting to do the new songs?

 

Kevin: That is…we are still -you know- open to that right now.  We’re looking at a bunch of different people.

 

Collider: And I know you…we talked inside and you said you guys are going to start casting in like a month.  Is that right?

 

Kevin: Yeah. We’re starting casting.  We put out the announcements. The thing about this is that this is not “Fame” starring like a Zack Ephron or Miley Cyrus or those kinds of characters - people who are already famous.  I want to discover young talent in the same way “Fame” is discovering new talent, so all unknowns and we’re going to make stars of them in the movie.

 

Collider: Now this is the interesting question: you say all unknowns and it actually sounds great so no one thinks of like Zack playing a character.  It’s all unknowns.  What happens if Miley or Zack or someone with a name says, “shit, this is a really good script.  This is really good music.  I want to be in this.” 

 

Kevin: Well, the thing that’s hard about that they’re such superstars and this movie is about young people who want that, so it’s just kind of inorganic to go that route.  I mean, obviously I think they’re great because everything they’ve done has been fantastic and they’re great in their own right in that world but for a movie like this, I think it would be a shame not to discover some new people.

 

Collider: Where are you thinking about filming the movie?

 

Kevin: It’s going to be a mix between New York and Los Angeles.

 

Collider: Are you guys going to try to do a lot of on location, on the street that kind of…

 

Kevin: Yes, I’m going to try and really capture the urban environment of New York as much as I can and not try and fake it because no matter what you do you can’t fake the New York vibe and tone and architecture and feel that you get when you’re in the street.

 

Collider: And you obviously mentioned you’ve been a director with a lot of stuff previously.  You have a lot of experience.  Have you directed a lot of camera stuff?

 

Kevin: Yes.

 

Collider: And so I guess my next question is--are you shooting on 35 or digital or…?

 

Kevin: Right now I’m…you know it’s a toss up… because I am part of the digital generation so a big part of me is moving towards that world and I want to embrace the genesis or the Red camera, but you know what…  film is also tried and true and I love it so I’m still going to see….it’s like this, you kind of want to see where the destination we’re going and then figure out what car to take from there, so I’m making all my reference material to see what the final picture is going to look like and then we’ll decide what format to shoot on.  As far as camera choreography, this is really an important thing to me, is that I know lately the style of coverage has been very popular which is like you know you get 10 cameras to shoot a dance scene and then you kind of edit it later.  Well, I’m going to go back to more single camera approach that made movies that Fosse did so popular and Buzby Burkely so popular.  I don’t understand why musical sequences or dance numbers can’t be storyboarded and paced out like as important as a monologue or a car chase.

 

Collider: I totally agree with you.

 

Kevin: Exactly.  I was just going to say that a dance scene has to have that crescendo and has to have that pacing and to me it would be a shame not to storyboard it and just kind of flesh it all out just as much as you would like I said a car chase because it could be that intense.

 

Collider: Well, you see you bring up the interesting thing about working with unknowns because you can say we’re doing 6 weeks of rehearsal, you’re going to know this dance number inside and out prior to getting on-set.  Is that the way you’re thinking about doing it?

 

Kevin: Yes.  I want to—you know—obviously we’ll have an intense period of rehearsals where the kids will just have to be immersed in that world.  The thing that I do like is that…about the original film is that Louis Falco, the choreographer, did such a great job at keeping the choreography organic—meaning it didn’t look like, you know, you cut to the wide shot and then everyone in the dance magically knows the number.  So, I’m going to use that approach as well and make sure not everything is down to the “T” choreographed so it looks like a music video.  It’s got to feel like you’re a fly on the wall and naturally it happens.

 

Collider: You say you’re casting in like a month, when do you plan to shoot this and do you already have like a release date in mind?

 

Kevin: No.  You know that’s all up…they know all of that more than I do but you know obviously we’re aiming at shooting pretty soon, but you know, that’s all….we’ve got to find the cast, we’ve got to find the superstars first so go from there.

 

Collider: So think about shooting in New York in the hot summer?

 

Kevin: Oh, that’s going to be—I know—that’s going to be a mess, but you know what?  We’ve got to do what we’ve got to do and it’ll be good.

 

Collider: sounds great, thanks.

 



 
     
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