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About The Production
When initially reading the script, director Brian Robbins was struck by the style of writing and its sense of visual tone. "It's not often, after you first read a script, that you can really see a movie,” says Robbins, "but this film has a very definite, unique visual style that lends itself to the material without giving too much away.”

To create a look for the film that would match the tone of the script, Robbins brought on production designer Jaymes Hinkle as well as costume designer Melissa Toth, who explains that she chose to dress the kids in clothing that defined who they are.

"For example, the character of Kyle was meant to look like a warm attractive kid with a love of architecture, so he wore a lot of tee shirts with abstract graphic patterns,” says Toth. "Matty was meant to look like a working class kid, so he wore a lot of blue-collar type shirts, like mechanic and bowling shirts. And the character of Roy was styled like an orphan skater kid, with a layered look of hats, big parkas and oversized jeans held up by a shoelace.”

As for the two female leads, Toth says they were meant to be opposites. "Francesca was an amalgam of all the alternative chicks you can think of — part protester, part punk and part skater. She had a rock-and-roll sensibility and was always a little sexy,” observes Toth. "The character of Anna was kept in contrast to Francesca and wore mostly jeans, pastel sweaters and polo shirts. We wanted her to look like a girl who was too meek to assert her identity through her clothes. And finally, Desmond was easy. He was obsessed with basketball, so we dressed him in athletic gear.”

In addition to making the characters real and come to life through their looks, director Robbins thought it important, for authenticity's sake, to cast a real college coach as the recruiter who meets with Desmond Rhodes to help him get into St. John's University. In fact, real-life St. John's University coach Mike Jarvis had once tried to recruit real-life basketball player Darius Miles, and in a bold stroke of realism, Jarvis and Miles reenacted that moment on film.

"In actuality, Darius Miles did sign with St. John's, but ended up being the Number Three pick for the Clippers, so he decided to go to the NBA,” remembers Jams. "I remember the visit I had with Darius in his home a couple years ago -- which lasted almost three hours — as if it were yesterday, and a lot of the same questions and issues that he faced then, face Desmond in this film.”

Darius Miles recalls the moment of cinematic d~j~ vu as a lot of fun. "It was great seeing Coach Jarvis again, and I think Bnan Robbins made a great choice in casting him. Not only can the guy act, but he really knows what he's talking about!”

Casting not only proved to be an important part of the process with regard to authenticity but also in the camaraderie on the set. "For me, it was very reminiscent of my experience with ‘Varsity Blues,' hanging out with a bunch of young people, either on their first, second or third movie, still really excited about what they're doing,” says director Robbins. "The actors had real energy and bonded together, which is probably why they come across so well on screen. Their experience of learning to trust one another on the set really mirrors the way they came together as a team in the film. It was great fun."

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