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JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS

About The Production
Josie and the Pussycats is a film for everybody who has ever played air guitar, ever practiced a Mick Jagger sneer or ever believed the words of a rock song were written just for them. It embraces the age-old dream that you just might morph from small-town loser to big-time rock star in the blink of an eye, especially in this wide-eyed world where trends change faster than the speed of light.

The characters of Josie, Melody and Val first sprang to life on the pages of an Archie comic book in 1963. The girls developed their moves with a Hanna-Barbera cartoon series from 1970- 1972, and now, by popular demand, Josie and the Pussycats have become living, breathing, twenty-first century heroines for a new generation of fans.

Chuck Grimes and Tony DeRosa-Grund producing partners and principals in Riverdale Productions, Archie Comics' film and television arm, brought the idea for a live-action Josie and the Pussycats to Universal. Universal brought them on board to produce, along with film veteran Marc Platt.

Long-time writing partners, Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont wrote the screenplay and directed the film as a team. Both had been eager to make a movie about a band. "We wanted it to be really music-driven, with original songs," said Elfont. "We also wanted the chance to tell a story that was different stylistically'

The result is a film that has a refreshingly unique look, style and sound, just like the Pussycats portrayed by Rachael Leigh Cook, Tara Reid and Rosario Dawson. "We were extremely pleased that the film captured the heart and soul of the Pussycats in a truly original way that would not only endear it to fans of the comic books, but also to the public at large," said Archie's Michael Silberkleit.

The filmmakers agreed that the music had to represent the voice and energy of the girls. Today's Pussycats have an edge, and the songs had to match their garage band roots. The Josie team approached fabled music producer Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds and his wife, film producer Tracey Edmonds. "We were thrilled to learn that Kenny and Tracey had loved the comic book and also loved the script," said Platt.

A unified vision developed rapidly. "There was no question going into this project that somehow we had to create and bring a high level of authenticity to the music," said Tracey Edmonds. "So in essence the major challenge was to engender originality while achieving believability with the girls. What resulted can be likened to sort of a female Blink 182."

Kenneth Edmonds produced all the music with Dave Gibbs, who co-wrote many of the songs. Kaplan and Elfont collaborated with Gibbs, too, penning the Pussycats' punk-rock- prom-queen anthem, "Three Small Words" and four additional songs. Adam Duritz of Counting Crows, Jane Weidlin of the Go-Go's and Adam Schlessinger of Fountains of Wayne also contributed to the soundtrack.

The music helped attract a hot young cast. "Everybody wants to be a rock star," Platt teased. "Rachael Leigh Cook came aboard first — we had to start with Josie because she's the heart and soul of the film. Tara Reid was a natural choice for Melody because she and her character have that same love of life." It took longer to discover the perfect Val, but Rosario Dawson had the job as soon as she met the filmmakers and her fellow Pussycats.

"We fell right into a groove," said Cook.

Before filming began on August 21, 2000 in Vancouver, the Pussycats had to learn to play their instruments. "These girls had to be a band — they were going to play three songs on camera," said Elfont. "The first thing we did when we cast Rachael was take her to Guitar Center and buy her a guitar and an amp. Then we got her a teacher. We had everybody work on their own with their instruments, then brought them together for two weeks and turned them into<

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