Production Notes PDF - Visual Hollywood

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Production Notes PDF - Visual Hollywood

anyone with a digital camera is a potential filmmaker. “So, as in the original, the idea is toexamine the real work and talent it takes to be an artist.”To reinvent the franchise with a modern energy and flair, the producers turned to accomplishedyoung multi-hyphenate Kevin Tancharoen, who, just like his characters, had to audition for thejob.“It was a Friday afternoon, and we had met 30 or 40 directors,” says producer Gary Lucchesi,“but none felt exactly right. Kevin sat down and started talking to me about his work – he hadbeen a dancer, met Britney Spears, had done some choreography for her, and ended up directingher worldwide tour when he was only 19, which was incredible.” His work as a choreographeralso includes enormous shows with „N Sync and work with Madonna in addition to directingSpears‟ “Onyx Hotel” tour. “We talked about his work with Jennifer Lopez directing Dancelife,his work with The Pussycat Dolls, and we asked him where he was from. He was from LA, grewup in the movie business, but he wasn‟t a part of the privileged „elite‟ – he was part of theresponsible, working side, which I found quite compelling.”Lucchesi asked Tancharoen to send him “everything he‟d ever directed.”“The next day, here comes this big envelope. We were very impressed not only with thechoreography but the way he shot the dance and the dramatic scenes. I showed Kevin‟s work toTom, and we agreed he was the director we had been looking for.”Although Fame is the 24-year-old director‟s first movie, his background, a mixture of music,dance, and pop culture, is the perfect blend of experience from which to draw for a movie likeFame. But while all his experience helped ready him for the job, it was the fact he connected tothe material in such a personal way that Tancharoen feels made him the right guy for the job.“Before I was a choreographer, I was that dancer with a number on his chest waiting to find outif I‟d made the cut,” Tancharoen says. “I was an energetic little kid, and my sister was in asinging group called Pretty in Pink – I would have to go with her to rehearsals after school, andwith all that energy bottled up I had to do something, so I ended up just trying to follow alongand took to it. My mother threw me into dance classes and martial arts and I enjoyed it. All thisled to some jobs professionally, which led to my interest in music. I bought some equipment andstarted producing songs.“And I‟ve always loved movies,” he continues. “My dad is a transportation captain on featurefilms, so I visited him on sets a lot. The biggest one for me was Batman Returns – I rememberwalking on to the sound stage and they were making snow, and there was ArnoldSchwarzenegger walking around with a cigar and The Penguin and Batman and Catwoman. Itwas amazing, and the magic of movies still fascinates me and has certainly influenced my work.“On this movie, on some level, I lived out my own Fame story. I‟ve been doing this since I waseight and have been constantly working at it, learning new stuff, being taught by great teachersand mentors. Every element of that led to me directing this movie,” Tancharoen says.


Since the original Fame, Tancharoen agrees the landscape has changed in terms of whataudiences expect from a film full of dance, music and drama. With entertainment realitycompetitions on TV, “The History of Dance” and its ilk on the web, and movie hits like Save theLast Dance and Step Up, “all genres of dance and musical performance have been showcased inreally mainstream, entertaining ways,” he says. “Now we have a more educated audience; the barhas been raised. We‟ve seen people defy physics by spinning on their heads, sliding across thefloor. We‟ve seen bravura singers from rock to rap to country.” Tancharoen wanted to make sureand raise the bar in his own film, and it was one of his working mantras during production.That said, with all the “new,” he wanted to make sure and keep the film rooted in what makes itunique and compelling. “When the original Fame came out,” he says, “it was a novelty. Itrepresented musicals taking a shift from the MGM classics of the 1950s. It also really showcasedwhat it was like to be a struggling teenage artist, to want it so badly and still not be assured ofsuccess – not everyone makes it. What we‟re trying to do, I think, is recapture the core of thatidea and marry it with the new dance and performance styles. It‟s not just the dance and the song– it‟s the stories behind the dance and the song.”To showcase those young artists‟ struggles, Tancharoen wanted to assemble an ensemble ofgifted newcomers who, in many respects, reflected their characters in real life. The youngperformers in the film are, in many ways, living in real life what their onscreen characters aregoing through, which lends the film‟s stories an honesty and affecting immediacy. “The castbrings an authenticity to the characters,” Tancharoen says. “They understand this world.Essentially, they themselves are the characters in the movie.” The actors felt very invested intheir characters, and it made the project incredibly special for each of them, personalizing theirroles.BackstageAlthough the production filmed most of the interiors in Los Angeles, the company filmed theexteriors in New York, and Manhattan locales dictated the entire look of the film, especially theactual performing arts high school.“There are two of them in New York, and we decided the one we‟d shoot is in the theaterdistrict. It has an architectural character that has a New York feeling to it,” says productiondesigner Paul Eads. “As luck would have it, one of the schools we chose in Los Angeles had avery similar window configuration, built in the same era as the high school in New York. Wesplit all the interior work between five different schools in Los Angeles – we shot corridors andthe graduation auditorium in one, the dance classroom in another, drama class in another,cafeteria in another. We were all over the map, but I had complete control over the color paletteand the choice of architecture.”The look of the film is also greatly influenced by the clothing worn by the cast. Because the filmis about artists, costume designer Dayna Pink wanted to make sure each piece worn reflected thecharacters‟ – and the actors‟ –individualism.


Since hitting Los Angeles, Anna Maria has graced the small screen numerous times with roles inBee Season, the morning show Cake, and Just Jordan, and provides the voice of the Martha, theSafety Patrol Kid, in Higglytown Heroes.She stars in the independent film A Forgotten Innocence, and was seen in Disney‟s hit CampRock as “Ella.”Anna Maria lives in Los Angeles with her two brothers.She enjoys working with the Children‟s Hospital of Los Angeles and likes to design and makeher own clothes as well as snow skiing, dancing, singing, playing the piano and reading.KELSEY GRAMMER (Martin Cranston, music instructor) has played the celebrated “Dr.Frasier Crane” on three different television series (Frasier, Cheers and Wings) over a span of 20years, tying the record for the longest-running television character.Grammer has won four Emmys, two Golden Globes, and a SAG Award for the Crane role, andhas received an unparalleled total of 16 Emmy nominations, eight Golden Globe nominations,and 16 SAG nominations.Grammer stars in Tim Allen‟s directorial debut Crazy on the Outside. He will also lend his voiceto the animated feature Bunyan and Babe, an independent film based on the popular Americanfolktale of the same name.Grammer voices the character Sideshow Bob on The Simpsons, for which he won an Emmy in2006.He also lent his voice to the feature films Toy Story 2, Anastasia and Teacher‟s Pet; to thetelevision series Father of the Pride and Gary the Rat; and to the Emmy-nominated Animal Farmfor TNT.Recent credits include An American Carol, Swing Vote, and the blockbuster hit X-Men: TheLast Stand playing one of Marvel Comics‟ most beloved characters, “Dr. Henry McCoy,” alsoknown as “Beast.”Other acting credits include Back To You, in which he also served as executive producer, AChristmas Carol for NBC, Benedict Arnold for A&E, Mr. St. Nick for ABC‟s Hallmark Hall ofFame, Fifteen Minutes, Down Periscope, and Even Money.Grammer‟s production company, Grammnet, has produced hit television projects for nearly 15years. Currently in production are the Emmy-winning Medium for NBC and The Game for CW.Other producing credits include CW‟s Girlfriends, NBC Productions‟ The Innocent, KelseyGrammer Salutes Jack Benny, Fired Up and In Laws. For PAX he produced World CupComedy.


For FOX, he starred in and produced Kelsey Grammer Presents: The Sketch Show. In addition toproducing, Grammer has directed several episodes of Frasier, one of which earned him a DGAnomination.Grammer studied at the Juilliard School, then did a three-year stint at the Old Globe Theatre inSan Diego, performing Shakespeare and Shaw.In 2007, he returned to the stage to play Professor Higgins in “My Fair Lady,” for which hereceived critical acclaim. His other Broadway credits include "Macbeth" and "Othello.” He alsoperformed the title role in “Richard II” and Lucio in “Measure for Measure” at the Mark TaperForum in Los Angeles.Grammer was born at St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands and was raised in New Jersey andFlorida. He lives in the Los Angeles area with wife, Camille, and their two children, Mason andJude.KAY PANABAKER (Jenny, actress) is recognized by many from her role as angst-filled teen“Nikki Westerly” on the drama Summerland. Younger fans know her work on the DisneyChannel, including the telefilm Read It and Weep and a recurring role on Phil of the Future.Currently Kay plays “Lindsey Willows,” daughter of Marg Helgenberger‟s character on CSI:Crime Scene Investigation, while recent guest appearances include Medium, Ghost Whisperer,Boston Legal, Two and a Half Men, and Weeds.Last year, Kay was seen on the big screen playing best friend “George” to girl sleuth NancyDrew in the feature film adaptation of the classic book series, and was later seen on the smallscreen in Lifetime‟s Custody alongside Rob Morrow and James Denton. She plays the titlecharacter in Moondance Alexander, an award-winning family film that also stars Lori Loughlinand Don Johnson.She was also recognized in 2007 for her performance in the Dylan and Cole Sprouse film AModern Twain Story: The Prince and the Pauper.Extraordinarily focused, Kay has pursued a rigorous academic schedule in addition to her work,graduating as valedictorian of her high school at the age of 13, and then completing herundergraduate work in history at UCLA in March 2007 at the age of 17.When not working, Kay enjoys working with young people as a hands-on volunteer withdifferent children‟s charities, including The Young Storytellers Foundation, Starlight Starbright,and Children‟s Hospital.ASHER BOOK (Marco, singer) began his career at an early age onstage. He got his first breakat an open casting call for the theatrical production of Beauty and the Beast as “Chip.” Most ofAsher's experience stems from several years in theater, film, and television.


Theatrically, he played the principal role of "Oliver" in Oliver, and he was in the film ComeAway Home, the original television movie Pop Rocks, and had guest-starring roles on Mediumand Zoey 101.Asher currently performs as a member of the pop vocal group V Factory, which is gearing up torelease its debut album on Warner Bros. Records next year. V Factory spent last May on anationwide trek across the country for the first-ever “Bandemonium” tour.Asher loves to travel, and recently ventured to the Sundance Film Festival to support his friendsand their films and to spend time on the slopes skiing, one of his most favorite pastimes.When not bundled up in the mountains, he's learning to ride waves on the California coast andlooking for any opportunity to go horseback riding.He also stays involved in many community service activities.KHERINGTON PAYNE (Alice, dancer) was born and raised in Orange County. As a two-yearold in diapers, she couldn't wait to begin dance lessons. Kherington also had a great love forsoccer, and although it was challenging to balance both, she found a way.On top of dance and athletics, she also found time to take acting lessons and modeling jobs forNike, McDonald‟s, Limited Too, Mattel, Amy Byer, and Disney. When Kherington turned 18,she was determined to audition for So You Think You Can Dance.After being accepted onto the show, she made it as a “Top 10” contestant. Kherington is thrilledand grateful to be a part of the “Fame” cast.DEBBIE ALLEN (Angela Simms, principal) continues to be one of the most respected,relevant, and versatile talents in the entertainment industry, and is an internationally recognizeddirector, choreographer and author.As Culture Connect Ambassador, Ms. Allen represented the U.S. in visits to Brazil, China, Italy,and India, expanding the opportunities in arts education for young people all over the world.She is a member of the prestigious President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities, a boardmember of the American Film Institute, and an executive committee member of UCLA's Schoolof Theatre, Film, and Television.Debbie Allen has received three Emmy Awards honoring her choreography, and two Emmys andone Golden Globe for her role as "Lydia Grant" in the hit series Fame.She then moved from acting to directing, first with the series Fame, followed by Family Tiesand Bronx Zoo before taking the reins at NBC's A Different World as director and producer in1988.


Allen has choreographed for artists such as Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, and Janet Jackson,and also holds the distinction of having choreographed the Academy Awards® a total of tentimes, five in consecutive years.She produced the Steven Spielberg epic film Amistad, and recently directed the second highestrated original movie in Lifetime history, Life is Not A Fairytale: The Fantasia Barrino Story.Allen also has staged musicals for the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., where she has beenArtist in Residence for over ten years.She has partnered with James Ingram, Arturo Sandoval, and Diane Louis for “Pepito‟s Story,”“Dreams,” “Pearl,” and “Alex in Wonderland.”In March 2008, Debbie Allen made her critically acclaimed Broadway directorial debut with thepremiere of an all-African American production of Tennessee William‟s classic “Cat on a HotTin Roof,” which starred James Earl Jones, Phylicia Rashad, Terrence Howard, Anika NoniRose, and Gian Carlo Esposito.She is currently creating a new musical in association with the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center ofOman called “Oman O‟man,” which premiers March 2009 at the Kennedy Center.Debbie Allen lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Norman Nixon, and their two children,Vivian Nichole and Norman, Jr.ABOUT THE DIRECTORKEVIN TANCHAROEN (Director) is a multi-talented artist making his feature directing debutwith Fame, building upon his career experience as a producer, writer, dancer, choreographer, andeditor. Kevin is also an executive producer on the Fame soundtrack.Kevin has been a serious film fan since he was very young, studying the creative and technicalaspects of filmmaking in elementary and middle school – he always enjoyed the "making of"featurettes on DVDs as much as the actual films.This fascination with film led to his exploration of special effects, and he enrolled in a creaturemold-making class when he was XXX.He got a computer, ostensibly to work on digital effects, but instead, surrounded by aspiringmusicians, found himself drawn to shooting and editing their music videos. He was hooked.Growing up, Kevin also had a passion for dance – he joined Wade Robson's dance company atthe age of 12. Soon, he moved into choreography, working with artists like Britney Spears and*NSYNC.


His combined experience with dance and music and his study of film soon allowed him toundertake remixing projects for various live performances and specials for artists such asChristina Aguilera, Jessican Simpson, and Tyrese.

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