BY Alonso Duralde
October 14 2009 6:00 AM ET
people agree that the movie version of A Chorus Line is pretty
terrible, but I was surprised that it wasn’t even mentioned in the
history of the show, particularly since the auditioners were probably
too young to have seen the stage version in its original run and were
likely familiar with the film.
It wasn’t a conscious decision -- we
weren’t opposed to it. As we winnowed down in the editing process what
the film was, it didn’t fit with the movie we were making. It was too
off-message. We had so many versions of this movie that we showed to
people close to us, and in the case of a film like this, we found the
editing was really critical -- you could have one scene that would make
the film feel it was moving too slowly, and then you could pull a
couple of scenes out and it would feel completely different. It was
just one of those things that didn’t make it in.
obviously lucked out with Jessica, a dancer who you followed from the
very beginning who makes it all the way through. How many people like
her did you have to shoot in order to get the one that got the part?
lot, I mean, it was like 70 or 80 people we were tracking from the
get-go. We had 10 camera crews at that open call where 3,000 people
went through. So throughout the day you’d be shooting, say, three or
four people auditioning for the role of Kristine, but by the end of
the day, some might advance to the next stage and some might not. We
just shot as much as we could, and while cuts were being made we kept
shooting and really amped it up toward the end of the process.
observing the process, what did you pick up on how the show has aged?
Parts of it are timeless, but there are certain aspects to it that are
very me-decade, mid ’70s. Paul’s big coming-out story was really
groundbreaking for the time, but for some modern audiences, it’s almost
quaint. I wonder if those issues came up in mounting the revival.
and I were just documenting what was happening with that team. What we
did experience in watching John the producer and Bob Avian the director
and [revival choreographer] Baayork Lee was that they wanted to create
something that was pretty much by and large true to the original. There
were a handful of adjustments here and there, but it’s a pretty fairly
strict interpretation overall. And it was interesting, when making the
casting decisions, you’d hear Bob say, and the group discuss -- if they
couldn’t ultimately decide on something -- they’d ask themselves, What
would Michael Bennett want? The ghost of Michael Bennett was really
present throughout the whole mounting of this production, and I really
felt they all wanted to create something that, if Michael were here
today, he would be very proud of and he would approve of. So that, from
a filmmaker point of view, was interesting to watch.