Taking too long? Close loading screen.
Connect with us


‘Bring It On’ Turns 20: Director & Writer Reveal ‘Rocky’ Inspired The Ending, Who Wrote Cliff’s Song & More



The 20th anniversary of ‘Bring It On’ is Aug. 25, so HL spoke EXCLUSIVELY with the filmmakers about how ‘Rocky’ inspired the ending, the iconic toothbrushing scene, Cliff’s song for Torrance, and more.

I said… it’s Bring It On’s 20th anniversary! The iconic cheer movie was released on Aug. 25, 2000, and became an instant hit. Even 20 years later, people are still referencing lines and cheers from the movie, including the legendary “Brr! It’s Cold In Here!”

HollywoodLife talked EXCLUSIVE with director Peyton Reed and writer Jessica Bendinger about everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Bring It On. From casting stars like Kirsten Dunst and Gabrielle Union to how Cliff’s love song for Torrance came to be to the ending credits, they discuss it all. Read our Q&A below.

Kirsten Dunst
Kirsten Dunst and more cast members in the opening of ‘Bring It On.’ (The Everett Collection)

For both of you, this was your first feature film. Peyton, why was entering the cheer world something that you wanted to dive into for your first feature film?
Peyton Reed: Admittedly, for me, it was really unexpected. I’d been doing music videos and TV and had really wanted to do a movie. I’d been writing a high school movie and reading lots of things, and the things that I read didn’t really grab me. And then my agent called about a script called Cheer Fever, and it takes place in the world of competitive high school cheerleading. At that point, I really wasn’t that aware that that existed. I read it and was immediately struck by this vivid portrait of this subculture that I knew nothing about — competitive high school cheerleading. Jessica had written this hyper-specific script that took place in that world, and there were all these rules and the hierarchy of that world. I really got sucked into this subculture. I thought it was fascinating, and particularly because the first couple of pages of her script were that opening cheer almost verbatim, almost exactly as it appears in the final movie. It was so smart because it just confronted your preconceived notions about cheerleaders right off the bat. It was funny, it was musical and very visual. From that point on, I was really hooked. But it was an unexpected journey for me because I hadn’t told my agent to find the best cheerleader movie out there.

For you, Jessica, what was the inspiration for this movie?
Jessica Bendinger: So many things. I loved the cheerleading competitions on ESPN. They were very fun binge material for me. I had done some research when I was directing music videos. I remember reaching out to Mater Dai High School, and this was like the early 90s. Mater Dai is kind of what Rancho Carne’s based on. But just the partner stunting in this music video for this very obscure hip hop band called Tycie and Woody in New York… I just loved it. The partner stunting and the tumbling all spoke to the gymnast in me. I just thought it was so badass, and combine that with like Gwen Stefani and “Just A Girl,” there was an emerging kind of alt-rock feminism, like ironic, funny, post-punk, “I’m a joke” energy of that time. Having worked at SPIN and been in music videos, I was very aware of the musical part of the culture. It just felt right. It just felt like it lined up with what Gwen was doing in that video. There were a lot of actors kind of swirling in me and pointing me in that direction, and then there was my love of hip hop. Just getting a chance to put those two tastes together was irresistible to me.

You mentioned you were a gymnast. Was the character of Missy inspired by you?
Jessica Bendinger: One hundred percent. As Peyton has said, she’s really the eyes and ears of the audience. She’s the outsider coming into this world — as was I — so gymnastics was a great place for me to locate that. The tumbling, having been a gymnast, I knew how much hard work it was just to get your basics. Just when you’re learning round-off back handsprings, it’s brutal to put all that bodyweight on your wrists. Learning how to use force and momentum and gravity, it is a challenging sport. So I love people who excel at it. It’s just so joyful for me to watch people who’ve really committed to it and are able to transcend. It’s really a great metaphor for life about working hard and really being able to fly.

At the center of the film is Kirsten Dunst and Gabrielle Union. Without them, the movie wouldn’t have worked the way it did. What was the casting process like for both of them?
Peyton Reed: I think that’s absolutely true. They just are those characters. They brought so much to them. Jessica, I think you brought Gabrielle in first even before I came on for one of the first table reads you did for the movie, right?

Jessica Bendinger: We did a staged reading. and I think we had already cast Gabrielle for Isis. She was always Isis. There was never another Isis, and we got really lucky.

Peyton Reed: Kirsten came in later. We all knew Kirsten’s performances because she was already a veteran actor at age 17. She had just turned 17 when she came on to the movie, and one of the things we did in the casting was try to encourage those actors to bring as much of themselves to those roles as possible. That sort of central triangle of Kirsten, Gabrielle, and Eliza [Dushku] was crucial to the success of the movie. You can just put those actors in frames together and see how different they are as people. I think we got so fortunate with the casting of that movie across the board with actors because there’s a version of this movie I think that’s just playing at those characters and kind of embracing just the frothiness of the movie. We had some really talented people in front of the camera.

Jessica Bendinger: And Jesse Bradford. We were just talking about that [Steven] Soderbergh movie with him where he had to eat paper because he’s so hungry. It’s the most heartbreaking, amazing scene. I was in love with him from that moment on, and the fact that we got him was so cool. He does add so much genuine, authentic, alt-rock spirit to the proceedings, right? He’s skeptical, but he’s not cynical. There’s a real sweetness to him.

Eliza Dushku Jesse Bradford
Eliza Dushku and Jesse Bradford in ‘Bring It On.’ (The Everett Collection)

Did you see anyone else for Cliff or was he the one that you really went for?
Peyton Reed: Joseph Middleton, our casting director, brought in every working actor of that age. We saw everybody at the time. I remember James Franco coming in, Jason Schwartzman, and all these different people, but Jesse was the one who just embodied that role and how we saw that role. He was just a very soulful kid and such a smart kid. He seemed like the right amount of cynicism and the right amount of positivity, and you had to have characters like that in the movie. I think Cliff and Missy are the main ones where they represent the audience in terms of when you’re throwing these cheerleading concepts at people right away, they have their preconceived notions and just confront them right up right off the bat. So it’s important to have those points of view, and Jesse knocked it out of the park. He and Eliza, I bought them as brother and sister. They have such a great rapport in that movie. When Torrance comes to the house and is talking to Cliff about Missy being a cheerleader and he says, “Is her drug dependency going to be a problem?” It just felt like the kind of thing a sh*tty brother would say to the sister. They really got along so well. The behind the scenes chemistry was great.

One of my favorite aspects of this film is the music. Who wrote Cliff’s song for Torrance? It has been on my mind for 20 years.
Peyton Reed: Billy Gottlieb, who was our music supervisor, he found this band called Rufus King. We met with him and talked to them about what this song needed to do story-wise in the context of the movie. He had written this thing and recorded it for her. She shows up with her boyfriend at the time, and it’s a fraught situation. But it’s a song that inspires her to go back and be the captain. It had to fulfill that story requirement, but it also had to have a very Cliff attitude in the lyrics. I think we suggested lyrical concepts to them, but they really did take the ball and run with it and did this thing, which like such a late 90s/early 2000s power-pop-punk vibe that really felt like everything that was coming out of California at that time.

Another iconic scene in the movie is the Torrance and Cliff toothbrushing scene. Did that scene always have no dialogue?
Jessica Bendinger: It never had dialogue. It was actually Peyton’s idea. He was like, there’s so much lingo and chatter. There’s a lot happening in the movie musically, sonically, and he said it would be great to ventilate it and have a sweet, romantic moment and let everything breathe. We sat by my computer, and I’d been watching His Girl Friday, Peyton had mentioned It Happened One Night, and we were trying to kind of bring that old school tension and sweetness to the proceedings. I’m really grateful that he insisted and I complied because it’s one of my favorite scenes in the movie.

Peyton Reed: I’ve always been a huge fan of oral hygiene. I find it really sexy, and I wanted to share that with the world and really make toothbrushing sexy again.

Gabrielle Union Natina Reed
Gabrielle Union and Natina Reed in ‘Bring It On.’ (The Everett Collection)

Was there a reason why both squads didn’t have a coach?
Jessica Bendinger: I will have you know that I wrote a five-hour version of the movie. The pace count on the first draft was 120 pages. There were coaches, and they were mercifully cut. Coach Shelton was the coach for the Clovers, and she had one good line. Peyton had us really streamline and pull back and get to the core. I was kicking and screaming part of the way, but I think he did a great job of reining it in and finding the David in the marble.

Peyton Reed: Jessica’s original draft really did have an epic quality, and it not only had everything that’s in the movie, but it really sort of talked about and dramatized the hierarchy between the cheerleaders and the dance squad. There were the coach characters. There was a lot of stuff in there. I think as we worked on it, we just sort of focused it a little more. But the fact that all that stuff was in it upfront really kind of helped me contextually figure out what this world is and the subculture and all this sort of stuff. One day we’ll release the full cut. No, there’s no full cut.

Jessica Bendinger: There’s no Clovers cut. Somebody asked us earlier the Clovers cut of it.

At regionals and nationals, there are montages of other squads. Did you use real cheerleaders at those events?
Peyton Reed: Oh, yeah. I think we recruited almost every living cheerleader in the San Diego area. With the actors when we cast them, it was important they have a certain amount of physicality. They at least had rhythm and could do basic choreography. We obviously put them through cheer camp as well, but we wanted to surround them with people who could really do the moves because it’s not easy to fake. You had to go and get the real people, too. Those real cheerleaders would always come up and say, “You know this move we just rehearsed is technically illegal.” There were all these illegal things in the movie, but it was really good for me to have not one technical consultant, but about 300.

What was it like for you as a director to get those up-close visuals of the stunts and tumbling?
Peyton Reed: I felt kind of like a camp counselor on the movie. The whole cast was so much younger, but I definitely felt a responsibility to keep all the kids safe because that stuff is intense. I didn’t want broken ankles or concussions or anything like that. We were in the blazing sun, and it was really hot. With the routines, the Toros and the Clovers and all the other ancillary teams had to do them multiple times to get all the camera coverage. I wanted to get all this coverage but keep it as fast-paced and kinetic as possible.

The cheer mom at regionals is such a vivid memory for me because cheer moms are so real in the cheer world. Did you come across cheer moms in your research?
Jessica Bendinger: I asked some judges what the most annoying thing was for them. What were some of the unexpected things or things they weren’t prepared for? It was always the parents. I heard that from a couple different judges. The parent or coach is always coming up and micromanaging or trying to intervene when they’re not on stage. I thought that was pretty funny.

Gabrielle Union
The Clovers after their finals routine. (The Everett Collection)

Both the Clovers and Toros had great nationals routines. Was there ever a discussion that the Toros could win or tie with the Clovers?
Jessica Bendinger: Never. It was always Rocky. It was always the Clovers who were going to win. It was always the Clovers. From the first original pitch outline, it was always the Clovers winning.

Peyton Reed: That’s just the right ending for the movie, and it’s something the movie is always building towards. I definitely looked at Rocky as a structural template because in that first movie Rocky loses to Apollo Creed, but the victory is that he’s gone the distance and proven that he’s a real contender. In this movie, it was just that the Toros for the first time are not going to have their next championship built on cultural theft. They’re going to have to try and do it themselves. The Clovers were always the better squad. The trick for me in shooting it was when we were designing those finals routines for the Clovers and for the Toros was how to make them distinct and different from each other, and how to make them both really, really great. There need to be this feeling where you felt like the Clovers were better, but the Toros were still amazing. It was finding that line, and there was a lot that went into the choreography of that. That was very tricky.

Bring It Oon
The ending credits of ‘Bring It On.’ (The Everett Collection)

How did the “Mickey” credits happen?
Peyton Reed: Jessica and I grew up with MTV when it was brand-new, and one of the things they constantly played in the early ’80s was Toni Basil’s “Mickey.” Toni Basil was a famous Hollywood choreographer, but she became a pop star. “Mickey” was her big hit. It was all about cheerleading. Even from the time I read Jessica’s script, I was thinking: is there a place for “Mickey,” even if we just reference it in the script? And it got time to do the movie and we kept talking about the music and what to do with “Mickey.” It sort of hit us that it would be really fun to do almost like a visual curtain call with all the actors and the characters breaking character a little bit. Something that felt really loose, and we could cut outtakes into it. I remember it came together really, really quickly while we were shooting nationals in Oceanside, California. Anne Fletcher, our choreographer, was there and she just put the moves together really quickly, and we shot it really quickly. I think it benefitted from that energy and spontaneity. It was such a nice uplift at the end of the movie.

Source : Hollywood Life Read More

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Netflix is developing a live action ‘Assassin’s Creed’ show



Netflix announced this morning that it’s partnering with Ubisoft to adapt the game publisher’s “Assassin’s Creed” franchise into a live action series.

The franchise jumps around in history, telling the story of a secret society of assassins with “genetic memory” and their centuries-long battle the knights templar. It has sold 155 million games worldwide and was also turned into a nearly incomprehensible 2016 film starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, which underperformed at the box office.

The companies say that they’re currently looking for a showrunner. Jason Altman and Danielle Kreinik of Ubisoft’s film and television division will serve as executive producers. (In addition to working on adaptations of Ubisoft’s intellectual property, the publisher is also involved in the Apple TV+ industry comedy “Mythic Quest.”)

“We’re excited to partner with Ubisoft and bring to life the rich, multilayered storytelling that Assassin’s Creed is beloved for,” said Netflix’s vice president of original series Peter Friedlander in a statement. “From its breathtaking historical worlds and massive global appeal as one of the best selling video game franchises of all time, we are committed to carefully crafting epic and thrilling entertainment based on this distinct IP and provide a deeper dive for fans and our members around the world to enjoy.”

It sounds like there could be follow-up shows as well, with the announcement saying that Netflix and Ubisoft will “tap into the iconic video game’s trove of dynamic stories with global mass appeal for adaptations of live action, animated, and anime series.”

Netflix recently placed an eight-episode order for “Resident Evil,” another video game franchise that was previously adapted for the big screen. And it also had a big hit with its adaptation of “The Witcher,” which is based on a fantasy book series that was popularized via video games.


Continue Reading


Original Content podcast: ‘Lovecraft Country’ is gloriously bonkers



As we tried to recap the first season of HBO’s “Lovecraft Country,” one thing became clear: The show is pretty nuts.

The story begins by sending Atticus “Tic” Freeman (Jonathan Majors), his friend Leti Lewis (Jurnee Smolett) and his uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) on a road trip across mid-’50s America in search of Tic’s missing father. You might assume that the search will occupy the entire season, or take even longer than that; instead, the initial storyline is wrapped up quickly.

And while there’s a story running through the whole season, most of the episodes are relatively self-contained, offering their own versions on various horror and science fiction tropes. There’s a haunted house episode, an Indiana Jones episode, a time travel episode and more.

The show isn’t perfect — the writing can be clunky, the special effects cheesy and cheap-looking. But at its best, it does an impressive job of mixing increasingly outlandish plots, creepy monsters (with plentiful gore) and a healthy dose of politics.

After all, “Lovecraft Country” (adapted form a book by Matt Ruff) is named after notoriously racist horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, but it focuses almost entirely on Black characters, making the case that old genres can be reinvigorated with diverse casts and a rethinking of political assumptions.

In addition to reviewing the show, the latest episode of the Original Content podcast also includes a discussion of Netflix earnings, the new season of “The Bachelorette” and the end of Quibi.

You can listen in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also follow us on Twitter or send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

And if you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:
0:00 Intro
0:36 Netflix discussion
3:18 “The Bachelorette”
6:30 Quibi
14:35 “Lovecraft Country” review
31:32 “Lovecraft Country” spoiler discussion


Continue Reading


The short, strange life of Quibi



“All that is left now is to offer a profound apology for disappointing you and, ultimately, for letting you down,” Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman wrote, closing out an open letter posted to Medium. “We cannot thank you enough for being there with us, and for us, every step of the way.”

With that, the founding executives confirmed the rumors and put Quibi to bed, a little more than six months after launching the service.

Starting a business is an impossibly difficult task under nearly any conditions, but even in a world that’s littered with high-profile failures, the streaming service’s swan song was remarkable for both its dramatically brief lifespan and the amount of money the company managed to raise (and spend) during that time.

A month ahead of its commercial launch, Quibi announced that it had raised another $750 million. That second round of funding brought the yet-to-launch streaming service’s funding up to $1.75 billion — roughly the same as the gross domestic product of Belize, give or take $100 million.

“We concluded a very successful second raise which will provide Quibi with a strong cash runway,” CFO Ambereen Toubassy told the press at the time. “This round of $750 million gives us tremendous flexibility and the financial wherewithal to build content and technology that consumers embrace.”

Quibi’s second funding round brought the yet-to-launch streaming service’s funding up to $1.75 billion — roughly the same as the gross domestic product of Belize, give or take $100 million.

From a financial perspective, Quibi had reason to be hopeful. Its fundraising ambitions were matched only by the aggressiveness with which it planned to spend that money. At the beginning of the year, Whitman touted the company’s plans to spend up to $100,000 per minute of programming — $6 million per hour. The executive proudly contrasted the jaw-dropping sum to the estimated $500 to $5,000 an hour spent by YouTube creators.

For Whitman and Katzenberg — best known for their respective reigns at HP and Disney — money was key to success in an already crowded marketplace. $1 billion was a drop in the bucket compared to the $17.3 billion Netflix was expected to spend on original content in 2020, but it was a start.

Following in the footsteps of Apple, who had also recently announced plans to spend $1 billion to launch its own fledgling streaming service, the company was enlisting A-List talent, from Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro and Ridley Scott to Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Lopez and LeBron James. If your name carried any sort of clout in Hollywood boardrooms, Quibi would happily cut you a check, seemingly regardless of content specifics.

Quibi’s strategy primarily defined itself by itself by its constraints. In hopes of attracting younger millennial and Gen Z, the company’s content would be not just mobile-first, but mobile-only. There would be no smart TV app, no Chromecast or AirPlay compatibility. Pricing, while low compared to the competition, was similarly off-putting. After a 90-day free trial, $4.99 got you an ad-supported subscription. And boy howdy, were there ads. Ads upon ads. Ads all the way down. Paying another $3 a month would make them go away.

Technological constraints and Terms of Service fine print forbade screen shots — a fundamental understanding of how content goes viral in 2020 (though, to be fair, one shared with other competing streaming services). Amusingly, the inability to share content led to videos like this one of director Sam Raimi’s perplexingly earnest “The Golden Arm.”

It features a built-on laugh track from viewers as Emmy winner Rachel Brosnahan lies in a hospital bed after refusing to remove a golden prosthetic. It’s an allegory, surely, but not one intentionally played for laughs. Many of the videos that did ultimately make the rounds on social media were regarded as a curiosity — strange artifacts from a nascent streaming service that made little sense on paper.

Most notable of all, however, were the “quick bites” that gave the service its confusingly pronounced name. Each program would be served in 5-10 minute chunks. The list included films acquired by the service, sliced up into “chapters.” Notably, the service didn’t actually purchase the content outright; instead, rights were set to revert to their creators after seven years. Meanwhile, after two years, content partners were able to “reassemble” the chunks back into a movie for distribution.


Continue Reading