The trailer for Gene Stupnitsky GOOD BOYS has already made the eagerly awaited comedy from producer Seth Rogen a must-see film of the Summer and is set for release August 16. Ahead of the film's release we spoke with renowned choreographer Paul Becker about working on GOOD BOYS and what drives his creativity.
Hi Paul, when a new film is coming out is it hard to sit back and enjoy the process or is it just constant work?
Whenever a new film of mine is coming out, it is sometimes difficult to watch because editing is so important to the integrity of the choreography. Everything I do is catered to the camera movements. That being said, it is a different story with Good Boys, Gene, Lee, and worked tightly on how we shot the musical numbers.
Where did the inspiration come from for your work in Good Boys?
For Good Boys, it was all about channelling my inner child. I had friendships like this in middle school. So I had a lot of inspiration to pull from. Basically, if it was uncomfortable, politically incorrect, and just plain wrong, we tried it.
How did you get involved in this film?
Lol. They heard of me and reached out. The tone and comedy is right up my alley and it wasn’t difficult for me to say no to.
How where they at picking up your choreography?
None of the boys were dancers. That didn’t matter for this. The charm in the dances is that they aren’t very good! So I found myself purposely trying to make it “bad choreography”.
You’re no stranger to working with child performers what was different about working with the kids in Good Boys?
The difference between working with these kids was the subject matter that we were doing. Usually, with my Disney films, it is G rated content. With Good Boys, Jacob Tremblay is flinging around sex toys In the choreography. That in itself it an icebreaker on the first rehearsal.
When you choreograph a piece are you flexible to it changing when you are working through it or do you prefer to stick to the vision you have?
I always build the dance prior to rehearsal, much like writing a script. I prep it about 70% because I want the performer to bring their energy to it so it evolves.
"That propelled me in the industry as a choreographer."
You run a highly rated Masterclass Series, how did this come about?
I was having an itch to give back and share my knowledge. I was once a student who was hungry to get inspired. I simply wanted to give back.
What have these Masterclasses taught you as a teacher, performer & choreographer?
They have reminded me that everyone has dreams and that through the discipline of dance, you can achieve greatness if you don’t give up.
You’ve worked across film, TV and commercial, is there any one area you like working in most?
I love the rush of directing or choreographing a live experience because the gratification is immediate. However, I am very comfortable behind the camera and there are so many cool tools with filmmaking that are fun to use and explore from VFX to camera tricks. They both hold a place for me.
Have you always had a passion for dance?
I think since I could walk I loved to dance. As a teen I was exposed to films like Beat Street, Breakn, Singing in the Rain, White Knights, Tap and various musicals. I had constant inspiration.
What was the first piece you choreographed?
The first piece I ever choreographed was in my first-grade talent show. My friends and I decided to enter as a breakdance crew. There was a lot of breaking but I don’t remember much dancing happening. Lol.
As a professional choreographer, my first feature film was “Are We There Yet?” with Ice Cube. That propelled me in the industry as a choreographer.
Do you think your approach has changed much since then?
My approach is always changing with each project. I find that every project needs a different creative approach. Of course, there are fundamentals that stay the same, but if I am not changing, learning and evolving, then I am dying.
What are some of the challenges an emerging choreographer or dancer might encounter when they’re starting out?
The biggest challenge in 2019 is getting producers to trust that you can deliver a quality product, on time, in budget, all while being great to work with. A lot of new up and coming choreographers are lacking the set experience of running a department and being a leader when high stakes are on the line. There is a lot more to it than making up steps in front of a mirror. That is why it is wise for up and comers to shadow and assist more experienced choreographers.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
I feel like Forrest Gump saying this by my mother always told me to be kind to everyone, especially those who are serving you at a restaurant. She was a waitress.
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from your work?
My goal with being a choreographer is to make people “feel”. It is storytelling at its purest form. If they feel and taken on a journey, then I have done my job.