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BLADES OF GLORY

The Making Of "Blades Of Glory"
When Ben Stiller and Stuart Cornfeld bought the spec script "Blades of Glory” for their company, Red Hour Films, they decided, as the sporting slogan goes, to just do it.

Stiller relates, "We got sent this script, which was about the first male figure-skating team pair—these two brothers had written it, and one of them was working at a Starbucks, I think. Anyway, it was one of those scripts where you go, ‘Wow, I can't believe nobody's done a movie of this.' It's just such a funny idea, so we decided to try to get it made.”

"Blades of Glory” centers on the comic travails of two disgraced world champion skaters who must overcome their considerable differences and get back in the game by becoming the first competitive male pairs figure skaters in history.

It seemed as if "Blades” was destined to be a film where good things come in twos—particularly when the search for a director began. Red Hour, which is committed to finding new talent, had been talking with a prominent directing pair from the field of advertising and music videos, Will Speck and Josh Gordon; the duo had made a quick reputation for themselves with their wry and hip series of Geico insurance commercials featuring a group of peeved cavemen, in addition to their Oscar®-nominated short film, "Culture."

"The thing I responded to most in their work was the comedy, which was based very much in character,” says Stuart Cornfeld. "They were able to take an idiosyncratic character and were just relaxed enough to move him to a comedic place that was eccentric, but still totally relatable.”

Per Stiller: "Will and Josh have directed so many commercials that they're actually incredibly experienced. They had to come in and work with a lot of different elements—they took the skating very seriously. They took the comedy very seriously. They skated themselves. I saw them out there. They definitely got their feet dirty, as they say.”

For Speck and Gordon, the world of skating presented a fertile ground for satire: a realistic setting rife with some wonderfully over-the-top elements—the sometimes overblown musical accompaniment, the lavish costumes, the behind-the-scenes personal dramas—all of which could be turned on their head to comic effect. "The commitment the two main characters have made to this sport, which has so many fantasy and fashion elements to it, opened the story up to many levels of comedic possibility. The thing we loved is that the world of figure skaters is such a specific sort of strange little universe that has its own brand of caste system, logic, sense of style, rules and celebrity,” says Speck.

"The fact that there's this little world unto itself that we can explore—that's very interesting to us. The script also had several unique supporting characters that go a long way toward populating that world,” adds Gordon. "And that, to us, was very appealing.”

While two heads are often better than one, the question does beg to be asked: how do two people direct a film simultaneously? (Answer: Any way that works.)

Adds Cornfeld: "In pre-production, Josh spent a little more time on the technical issues, while Will focused more on the script. But once we started shooting, it was very much a collaboration. They were always in sync when a decision had to be made.”

While the behind-the-scenes world of directing the film fell to a twosome (the pair of Speck & Gordon), the on-screen story would need to be carried by a duo of comic actors, each possessing the ability to hold his own on and off the ice, while also being able to complement each other, stylistically speaking.

"One of the things that drew us to the script is the dichotomy of the two leads. They're such opposites,” says Gordon. "Chazz Michael Michaels is a guy who wears all his

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