- Casting – How did you find the guys in 2GETHER?
- Kevin – Kevin Farley doesn’t sing in the movie 2GETHER. Why not?
- Location – Why did you shoot 2gether in Vancouver?
- Location – Why do 2gether play their final gig in Jacksonville?
- Michael – I am still upset by Michael Cuccione’s passing. Help.
- Michael – Was it Michael’s idea to have cancer in 2gether?
- Michael – What is the book QT is signing at the end of 2gether?
- Michael – What was Michael Cuccione like to work with and did you ever have to stop filming the movie because he was ill?
- Michael – What’s your favourite memory of Michael?
- Music – Which songs did you sing in 2gether?
- Music – Who sings back-up on Visualize and Before We Say Goodbye? And why is Visualize on the CD but not in the movie?
- Music – Who sings Rub One Out? Is it the guys who played Woah! in the movie?
- Woah – Why is Woah!’s label called Stuff Records?
Casting – How did you find the guys in 2GETHER?
I actually find it helps if I’m not a huge fan of the artist or their music – being dispassionate allows me a perspective on their performance and my judgments don’t get fudged by my blind idolatry of their artistry or their past glories.
Kevin – Kevin Farley doesn’t sing in the movie 2GETHER. Why not?
When we went to Reno to record the tracks we had not yet cast an actor to play Doug so we had no choice but to press on without him. (See dick’s diary) We’d always wanted Doug to be the person who drew your eye in a pic of 2gether who made you think: “What’s wrong with this picture?” Kevin, is a great comedic actor (and very cool guy too) and is very at home with his physicality (i.e. he’s a fabulous dancer) so he was the perfect choice for Doug.
When we started casting we were prepared to “Do a Woah!” and get our guys to lip synch if we had to but were blessed in finding four great singers.
Location – Why did you shoot 2gether in Vancouver?
Because I was told to! At the time it was cheaper to shoot in Canada and the producers had already made the decision to shoot there when I was hired to direct the movie.
Location – Why do 2gether play their final gig in Jacksonville?
Originally the final gig was supposed to happen in Orlando in a shopping mall but as we were shooting two weeks before Christmas none of the malls we looked at in Vancouver were interested in letting us film – they were all too busy making money from Christmas shoppers. So, eventually we decided to change the script and shoot in Vancouver’s Plaza Of Nations building which looks more like a convention center. Only one problem: the Plaza Of Nations has huge windows and looks over the water of which there is none in Orlando. So we had to change their destination to Jacksonville (where there is water) and hide any references to Orlando in the finished cut of the movie! We then dubbed the gig the Bannerman Convention Center in honour of our producer Bill Bannerman.
Michael – I am still upset by Michael Cuccione’s passing. Help.
I have had a number of close friends pass away and it’s always tough. However I have learnt the following: if you grieve over Michael’s death and just get sad and miserable that achieves nothing.
Firstly it is OK to grieve – it’s a very important part of the process, it’s a way of saying goodbye to someone you cared about. Secondly the way to get through it all is to use Michael’s life as an example of what you can achieve in your life. If Michael dies and you don’t use his life as an inspiration then his life was wasted. He was an incredible young man and so you must remember that and say to yourself “if Michael could achieve all those things then I can too!” I can tell you that nothing would make Michael happier than to know you were using his life as your inspiration. And Michael never stopped smiling…so why don’t you follow his example? LIVE YOUR LIFE!
Michael – Was it Michael’s idea to have cancer in 2gether?
No. The affliction was always in the script (Biliary thrombosis is a fictional complaint by the way). It was very serendipitous that Michael had the voice, the looks, the acting chops AND the life experience which made him perfect for the role.
Michael – What is the book QT is signing at the end of 2gether?
In the script (written by Mark and Brian Gunn) they had QT signing copies of his fictitious book “Keepin’ It All 2gether.” in the final act. As Michael had his own book, “There Are Survivors – The Michael Cuccione Story,” I asked Michael if we could use the cover of his own book and apply our own title over the top.ther.
Michael – What was Michael Cuccione like to work with and did you ever have to stop filming the movie because he was ill?
Working with Michael was enormous fun. He was eager, enthusiastic, energetic and always ready to crack a joke – usually something quite ribald and that had something to do with girls and made his Mum blush! I was always aware that he wasn’t physically as strong as the other guys and would always ask quietly if he was OK to do a dance sequence or something that was a bit physical and his face would just light up and he’d say: “Yep! I’m ready.” I never ever heard him complain – he was an extraordinarily determined person. The only people who got sick on the movie was Evan and me and when I took some Nyquil to help me out I nearly passed out on set the next day – Michael just get kept right on dancing.
Michael – What’s your favourite memory of Michael?
The day after we shot the 2gether Premiere Show for MTV we went back to TRL on Times Square in New York to tape another segment. It was a cold and miserable day with snow starting to fall and we looked down from the familiar window where Carson stands and does his thing and we saw 2gether fans outside – the first REAL 2gether fans we’d ever seen; up to this point any ‘fan’ was someone we’d cast and told to scream on cue! Cynical me was convinced that these good people standing in the snow, waving placards and wearing home-made U+Me=Us T-shirts, were more fake fans hired by MTV or the record label to promote the CD. Michael would have none of it: he was convinced they were the real thing and the look of pure joy on his face as he waved at them moved me. Michael did not want adulation – he wanted to sing and act and to live his life to the full. His questions were always along the lines of: “Do you think we’ll actually get to meet Carson Daly?” “Will people be able to buy our album?” “Do you think we’ll be able to go to the MTV awards?” “Will I get to meet Britney?” Seeing the fans below meant that it was really starting to happen…it was real, he was achieving his dreams.
After the TRL taping was done we went downstairs and he was right – the fans were real…and soaking wet and frozen. In the snow and sleet Michael and the rest of the guys started signing autographs for the first time on soggy pieces of paper and stood laughing to get their picture taken. Michael turned to me and beamed: “Nigel, Isn’t this cool?”
Michael was an inspiration and his most important message was live life to the full, dream big and don’t be scared to follow those dreams. Go Michael Go!
Postcript…It is 1230 Los Angeles time (i.e. 330 in New York) on 18th Feb 2001 as I write this. I have just looked up in my diary to see when this all happened and I swear to God this is the truth: it all took place exactly one year ago 18th Feb 2000 about 330 in the afternoon in New York! If that isn’t a sign from the other side I don’t know what is!
Music – Which songs did you sing in 2gether?
I’m the REALLY BAD karaoke singer singing “Rosanna” at the start of the scene where Buss discovers QT (an homage to my buddies in Toto). I did two takes. After hearing the first one I said: “I need to do it again – I can do it much worse than that.” Later in that scene you can also hear me singing a song of my own “Bucks Won’t Buy You Love” (available on this web page!) in the background while Buss is talking about publicity bonanzas.
Music – Who sings back-up on Visualize and Before We Say Goodbye? And why is Visualize on the CD but not in the movie?
Visualize I don’t know – Michael? BWSG is mostly done by Alex and Noah I think. We heard Visualize while we were making the movie and getting to know Michael and loved it but there was no place for it in the film. When it was decided, at the 11th hour, to release the first 2gether album we had about three days to fill up an entire CD and we all instantly agreed Michael’s song should be on the record.
Music – Who sings Rub One Out? Is it the guys who played Woah! in the movie?
“Rub One Out” was sung by Andrew Fromm and I think Josh and Brian from KNS (who produced it) did the backing vocals. So, just like in the movie, Woah! are dirty rotten lip-synchers! Why is Andrew Fromm’s name familiar? He wrote “I Need You Tonight” and “Spanish Eyes” on the Backstreet Boys Milennium album.
Woah – Why is Woah!’s label called Stuff Records?
That’s the name of my own record label. When we were prepping the movie we were forbidden to use a number of other label names because they are the names of existing labels who might have sued MTV. Consequently I let MTV use the name of my label for the movie as I obviously wouldn’t be upset about it being used.
(I called my label Stuff Records in memory of the label I used to work at in London called STIFF Records – home of Madness.)