Navigation Bar - Text Links at Bottom of Page

BURLESQUE

Showtime
Though the Burlesque Lounge provided new creative relationships, many members of the cast and crew had collaborated previously. The Burlesque Lounge reintroduced Peter Gallagher with his "Guys And Dolls” co-star (and Burlesque choreographer) Denise Faye. Gallagher and Cher enjoyed a brief cinematic encounter when she had a cameo role as Larry Levy's date for an event in Robert Altman's The Player. Costume designer Michael Kaplan had his first job as an assistant on "The Sonny and Cher Show.” Theatrical lighting designers Peggy Eisenhauer and Jules Fisher previously collaborated with choreographers Denise Faye and Joey Pizzi on Rob Marshall's Chicago, and with Alan Cumming for his Tony Award-winning turn in "Cabaret.” Christina Aguilera took dancer Paul Kirkland on the road with her for two of her tours.

The first few weeks of production were divided between filming big musical numbers ("E.X.P.R.E.S.S.,” "A Guy What Takes His Time,” and "I Am A Good Girl”) and quiet, often intimate scenes between Gigandet and Aguilera. Gigandet praises his co-star for her commitment. "She came to play. She really did,” Gigandet enthuses. "She jumped into the deep end of the pool as quickly as possible. It was a crash course. She was open-minded and willing, throughout the whole movie. It was kind of an exciting journey to see how she was on the first day to where she is now. It was special to be a part of this because you could see her grow.”

Furthermore, Gigandet notes that director Steven Antin devoted as much of his attention to the film's smaller moments as he did to the breathtaking musical numbers: "He was so focused on simply the story, the acting, and the relationship that these two were going through. I feel like that's rare, especially on such a big movie. When it came to those details, he stepped up and didn't let all the distractions get in the way, which is great.”

Director of photography Bojan Bazelli helped Antin capture Burlesque's wildest, most romantic and most thrilling moments. Bazelli comments: "Color is a big player in this movie. It has vibrancy. Burlesque, in my mind, is red. We played where we added lots of red tones in the entire musical. Any time there is a number, there is a significant amount of very rich, saturated red.”

Bazelli aimed to set a distinction between Ali's Hollywood and her world inside the club. "Any time we enter the club, the club is vibrant, its colors are vibrant,” Bazelli says. "The contrast is stronger. Whereas when we are in the streets -- and not that Hollywood is not a vibrant place -- but we tried to keep it a little less colorful. The tonality is monochromatic. It's representing two worlds: One would be Cher's world, one would be the world of Christina, a new arrival in town.”

Bazelli worked seamlessly with Eisenhauer and Fisher to create an active, bold vision for the lounge's musical sequences. Peter Gallagher observes: "Bojan creates a world that appears real, that we're living in and acting in and telling the story in, and Peggy illuminates this heightened reality and helps tell the story of these musical numbers. There's an extraordinary amount of cooperation and coordination in their two separate worlds.”

Occasionally, the production would leave the stage to venture out into practical locations. There were some obvious logistical difficulties in bringing two music icons into the middle of Hollywood. Nevertheless, Antin had a dream to shoot a scene on Hollywood Boulevard. He comments: "I grew up here. The sun sets almost right in the center of Hollywood Boulevard and creates this incredible light that blasts down Hollywood Boulevard, and it reflects off those terrazzo, slick, Walk of Fame sidewalks. I'd seen it so many times and I always wanted to shoot it, and I got to shoot it in this movie. I had no idea that it was going to be as crazy as it was. There were mobs of people. I felt like we were in Times Square. I've never seen it that crowded.”

Another outdoor scene, a confrontation between Nikki and Tess, required Bell to dive right into one of her most dramatic scenes mere moments after meeting Cher. "Shooting the parking lot scene was kind of bizarre because I hadn't known Cher at that point,” Bell recalls. "We both knew this was a pivotal point in our relationship, so it had to be good and it had to be real. We sat down and talked first and we said, ‘Obviously we're best friends. We've had a million movie nights where I've burnt the popcorn and you've made gin and tonics and we've painted each other's nails and you're my idol and I'm your protégé and this has been going on for years and this is how it works and tonight's the night of our break-up.'”

Despite the level of fame Cher and Aguilera brought to the production, Bell found her work environment to be exceptionally supportive. "They're both so down-to-earth, which I hate to say is surprising, but it was,” Bell recalls. "You don't know what kind of personality someone's going to have when they're that iconic, but they're both lovely and so much fun to work with and so blunt and easy to be around. It's become like a really nice family, kind of like these girls actually have at this burlesque club.”

Christina Aguilera did more than just act, sing and dance in Burlesque; she also co-wrote three of the songs that appear in the film: "E.X.P.R.E.S.S.,” "Bound to You,” and "Show Me How You Burlesque.” Aguilera offered to write the music and Antin graciously accepted. With a caveat, though. "Christina said, ‘Does that mean if I write one and you don't like it, it's not in the movie?' And I said, ‘Yeah,'” Antin jokes. "That's basically it. She's not afraid of a challenge, a girl like Christina Aguilera. She went out and wrote song after song after song, and it was spectacular. We talked a lot about what those songs were. I wrote treatments for the songs, about what story those songs tell in the movie and what the subject matter is, and what the tone of the songs might be.” Antin did write one of the key songs that Christina performs in the film – "But I'm a Good Girl.”

The expertly choreographed dance numbers took shape months before production. Antin, whom worked very closely with choreographers Joey Pizzi and Denise Faye, describes the process: "Denise Faye was here for months with me, conceptualizing and looking at movies and music videos that we loved, and referencing everything you could possibly imagine from the last several hundred years of dance, and burlesque and vaudeville, and opera. We had a whole wall that we had all the numbers up on with different ideas. We would just pare them down and pare them down. She and Joey Pizzi brought their choreography team here: Tara Hughes, Aisha Francis, Melanie Lewis and Jaquel Knight. The six of them would get into a room after we would conceptualize something, and they'd bring me in and say, ‘Here's the rough bones of it.'”

Each member of the team added his or her own bit of expertise to the film's choreography. Jaquel Knight explains: "Denise, Joey and Tara worked together previously. They had this chemistry already among themselves with such a great talent and technique behind it. Aisha and Melanie and I brought a kind of commercial side to the whole project. My style personally is very funky, very street, very underground. It's inspired by whatever you see at the moment.”

Aisha Francis, a member of the choreography team and featured dancer, describes her favorite number: "'Something's Got a Hold on Me,' but I wasn't in it, thank God!” Francis laughs. "They were about to die! That was like running a ten-day marathon at full speed. I felt so awful for the girls. It was like thirty seconds between

TOP

Home | Theaters | Video | TV

Your Comments and Suggestions are Always Welcome.
Contact CinemaReview.com

2014 4,  All Rights Reserved.

Google

Find:  HELP!

Google