Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Andrew Waller

In Taking 5, director Andrew Waller, brings to screen an upbeat, comic story of the insane escapades of two teen idol worshipers. Gabby (Daniella Monet) and Devon (Alona Tal) are the ultimate fans of the mega boy band, 5 Leo Rise (The Click Five). Taking 5 is the product of an emerging trend in pop culture that makes stars out of every day people through exposure on the internet and reality television.


Taking 5 is a film aimed at a younger audience. Was this something
that attracted you to this project? How so?

Andrew Waller: I've always been a fan of movies and television that explore youth culture. On those networks and in movies targeted to a younger audience there tends to be more of an emphasis on the pure joy of filmmaking. A kind of pop sensibility that doesn't take itself too seriously but that still has a lot of heart. That's the kind of filmmaking that I want to be a part of. The script for Taking 5 has all those elements. It was a fun, fast paced teen adventure story that also has honest emotional moments and situations that people of any age can relate to.

The movie weaves a lot of music into its storyline, with musical performances by Click Five peppered throughout the film. Did you draw inspiration for any of the scenes from music videos?

AW: I do watch music videos regularly and am influenced by their style. But the main influences for this movie came from an early Robert Zemeckis' film called I Wanna Hold Your Hand about a group of teenagers who are trying to sneak into the Beatles appearance on Ed Sullivan. It had a fun, goofy style that both embraced and satirized the hysteria that mega pop bands can create. I also watched Richard Lester's Hard Days Night.

Q: Taking 5 is about the star crazy, American Idol-inspired pop culture that is taking over the world right now. Can you relate to this
phenomena from your own musical past?

AW: I've never been that fanatical about specific bands or artists. I listen to a ton of pop music, I like listening to singles instead of a whole album. I find a song that I like and I play it over and over again till I burn it out. That's what's so amazing about Kidnap My Heart the song that The Click Five wrote, produced and recorded for Taking 5. I've heard that song probably ten thousand times and I never got sick of it. Both versions, the pop version that sounds like a boy band song, and the pop rock version that sounds like Blink 182. They both can stand on their own. The whole movie hinged on their ability to nail that song, and they did that in a big way with Kidnap.

Q: The early-90's saw the likes of Take That bringing boy bands to the forefront of teen music. Does the popularity of Taking 5, with throngs of young girls screaming at the film's premiere, mean boy bands are back?

AW: I grew up in the age of NKOTB and New Edition. Those kind of bands seemed to go away for a little bit in the mid-nineties but it started up again with the Backstreet Boys and N'Sync. I think what makes these bands successful is not necessarily the genre of `boy band', it's the music. If it is fun and pop and listenable to all ages. I think one would be hard pressed to find people who didn't like the Backstreet Boys' I Want It That Way or N'Sync's Bye, Bye, Bye. It was great to watch Taking 5 with fans that already knew the lyrics to Kidnap My Heart. They had listened to it over and
over again on the Taking 5 MySpace page... I love that the net gives people the ability to share their common interests in such a world wide interactive way.

Q: You have had a lot of experience directing young actors. How do you describe the energy it brings to a set?

AW: I've been really fortunate to work with energetic young actors who want to bring something to the table. I like doing a lot of rehearsal, working out the scenes and the characters before we shoot. Allowing the actors to improv lines and play around and then turning around and putting that into the script. I also like to hang out with actors before we begin shooting. I want to observe them naturally, going to the movies, driving around, hanging out playing video games. Take things from their real lives and apply them to their characters. You find yourself remembering a certain type of look or smile that you can recall on set, work it into a scene. For Taking 5, the actors loved hanging out with one another, they were great playing off one another. And they always came ready with an idea, something that would make the movie better.

Director and ASW member Andrew Waller
A scene from Taking 5

The Click 5 as 5 Leo Rise in

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