Burning Questions

The production team behind Bravo hits like Top Chef and Work of Art answer our questions about their latest project: Justin Bieber's first film.

Feb 11, 2011

MR: So how did this project come to you guys?
DC:...we just got a call out of the blue from Adam Goodman over at Paramount. He was someone we had known many years ago, because he asked to meet us when he was over at Dreamworks, when we had done Bands on the Run for VH1, which is actually the first show that Jane and I collaborated on. He was a big fan of that show, and so we met with him a couple of times after that. But I think we hadn’t spoken to him in probably eight or nine years, and when this project came up he felt like the sense of the musician’s life on the road that he had seen on Bands on the Run was something that he wanted to bring to this movie.

We just went in. And we were really excited about the opportunity. And we
were also very well-placed to make something happen at very short notice, because we have a production company and we have people that we know we can call and get out there who will do a great job. So they had a very tight turnaround and a couple of weeks later we were in Toronto and then Jane was on the road for two weeks with the Bieber Army.

JL: ...when we got the call I was standing in the airport and was literally doing the interview with 10 Paramount executives that at the time I did not know. And I think literally two-and-a-half, three weeks later, I was back in the airport heading to Toronto. So it was quite an amazing turnaround.

MR: I know you did Air Guitar Nation -- is this your second feature?
DC: Yes it is.

MR: Are you guys looking to do more films?
DC: I think that’s something we’re definitely interested in doing more of ... we actually had a great experience doing Air Guitar Nation a few years back. And that movie actually was distributed theatrically
both in the U.S. and internationally and got us a great press. We’re still paying for it. So, it was a very different experience from this. But you know, it’s funny, we had the whole kind of indie film experience, and now we’ve had this sort of incredible studio movie experience with you know the big premiere and the whole thing. It’s pretty incredible.

MR: What was it like because this film was also unique in that it's 3D. What was that experience like and do you want to do more of that? Maybe have a Top Chef 3D episode?
JL: It
is fun to think about that. Honestly, director Jon Chu was really focused on the 3D elements of it, but we learned a lot from him and the experience, and it is kind of an interesting additional creative challenge to think about what’s meaningful in 3D or what’s fun in 3D versus the 2D experience.

MR: What kind of surprised you guys most about working with Justin Bieber? I’m assuming you went in with some sort of preconceived notions about what it was going to be like.
DC: I will say it: I was surprised by how prodigiously talented he is. And I mean clearly you don’t achieve that kind of success without talent, but I just didn’t know how deep it ran, and I think one of the things that’s really cool in the movie is that you get a sense of that this is a kid who’s been a really talented musician his whole life has been sort of amazing his friends and family and neighbors for years, and now he’s doing it on a global scale.

JL: I think the other thing is just seeing the juxtaposition, going literally from one minute in the arena with hundreds of thousands of screaming fans or being on stage in those huge arenas of stardom, and then stepping off and getting on a Segway and squirting water at his friends. We tried to capture it with the film, which hopefully we did. But it is really incredible -- there aren’t a lot of people in that position.