Magazine article Dance Magazine

Ready for Our Close-Up, Mr. A! (News)

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Ready for Our Close-Up, Mr. A! (News)

Article excerpt

Veteran film director Robert Altman is taking his cameras backstage with The Company, a fictionalized season in the life of the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago. "This is a whole new world to me," said Altman, 77, during shooting last fall in Chicago. The movie stars company dancers and ballet masters, choreographers Lar Lubovitch and Robert Desrosiers, as well as actors Neve Campbell, James Franco, and Malcolm McDowell, who has been cast as the Joffrey's co-founder and artistic director, Gerald Arpino. The movie is being produced by Altman's Sandcastle 5 Productions and Killer Films and it will be distributed by Sony Pictures Classics. Producer David Levy is attempting to finish the film by March in time for consideration by the Cannes Film Festival.

A dancer since age 6 and a student at the National Ballet School of Canada from the age of 9, Campbell (of the television series Party of Five and the movie Scream fame) tried to use her Hollywood clout to make a dance picture. But studio executives were more interested in a star vehicle for the performer.

"I didn't want it to be a movie about my character [where] she wants to become principal and she gets there," Campbell said. "I wanted it to be about what it is to be part of a dance company, what those sacrifices are, what the union rules are, how a company goes out and casts its dancers, and how choreographers come in and set ballets. I think it's all fascinating, so I wanted to tell that story."

She decided to go out on her own, hiring screenwriter Barbara Turner (Pollock), who spent two and one-half years observing and interviewing members of the Joffrey--a close-knit company with an "all-star, no-star" system. …

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