The world has seen A Chorus Line on the Great White Way of Broadway and on the big screen with Michael Douglas. Yet the world has never gone behind the scenes of one of the world’s most successful and celebrated theatrical productions—until now.
Every Little Step is a documentary that examines the show’s history and the process behind the launch of the 2006 revival. Through their production company, Endgame Entertainment, James D. Stern and Adam Del Deo worked as both directors and producers on this innovative film that was an official selection at the Berlin and Toronto International Film Festivals. Now, in 2009, their film is getting a limited release in the United States thanks to Sony Pictures Classics.
Stern and Del Deo spoke with MovieMaker on the brink of the April 17, 2009 theatrical release.
Nora Murphy (MM): What inspired you to create a documentary on A Chorus Line?
Adam Del Deo (AD): The executor of Michael Bennett’s estate, John Breglio, brought the project to Jim Stern’s attention after viewing our film, …So Goes the Nation. We were very interested and thought that since A Chorus Line is such an iconic piece—the longest running American musical—that this documentary could combine the beginnings of A Chorus Line with a cinéma vérité, modern take on the 2006 Broadway revival. Moreover, we felt the film could add up to a heartwarming story with spectacular dancing and classic Broadway music. Further, we loved that the film’s structure could be about dancers pouring their hearts out to get a job on Broadway and, in fact, A Chorus Line is about dancers trying to get a job on Broadway. Art imitating life, life imitating art. Ultimately, we felt the piece could be something very special and jumped at the opportunity.
MM: Why do you think A Chorus Line is such a timeless show?
James Stern (JS): A Chorus Line is such a timeless show because everyone can relate to being very passionate about something and going after your dreams. The characters are all very real people, all with their own stories that bring a special uniqueness to the table. People can relate to one, if not all, of these distinctive personalities and that realistic feel, combined with hope and inspiration, creates compelling entertainment.
MM: How were you granted access to those taped conversations that are the basis for this film?
JS: John Breglio had the tapes locked up in a vault. After all these years, we were fortunate he made them available to us.
MM: Adam, what was it like to be a part of the behind-the-scenes atmosphere of the revival?
AD: It was a very moving and heartwarming, once-in-a-lifetime experience. It was all so real and dramatic. Seeing the dancers struggle with what they love the most in the world was touching—and at the same time hard to watch. They put their heart and soul into their performances; it was all so inspirational.
MM: James, what is the biggest difference between producing theater and producing film?
JS: There are many differences. The biggest is that film is such a long post-production process. So much of what a film ultimately becomes happens in the editing room. Alternatively, on a stage, it’s all about creating/prepping for a live audience… there is no editing process.
MM: What’s next for Endgame Entertainment?
AD: Our film, An Education, was bought at Sundance by Sony Pictures Classics and will be released this coming Fall. Also, The Brothers Bloom, a film starring Rachel Weisz, Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo, will be released by Summit Entertainment in May.
JS: We have several projects we are in active development on. We just announced our partnership with [(300 Production Company] Hollywood Gang on Marco Polo. Endgame’s future movie slate is looking very exciting.