Monday, August 12, 2013

Flashdance (1983)

Nick: When you give up your dream, you die.
Alex Owens has two jobs: Steel worker by day, exotic dancer by night.  She is quite talented and gifted in her dancing and is noticed one night by an important man in the audience at the club.  That man is her boss at the steel plant.  Eventually becoming her boyfriend, he suggests she further her dancing career and seek some education at a dance academy.  Comfortable with what she's doing and not comfortable being told what to do, will independent Alex let pride get in the way of her future as well as her dream of being the best?
 "Flashdance" made its broad US premiere on April 15, 1983.  The next area to get to see the film was the UK a month-and-a-half later followed by Denmark, the Netherlands, and Sweden.
Paramount Pictures was not expecting "Flashdance" to be the hit that it was.  In fact, they didn't much like the director, either.  Adrian Lyne turned down the opportunity to direct "Flashdance" two separate times, a possible reason as to why he wasn't liked.  Paramount was adamant in giving Adrian not only a low budget of an unspecified amount, but they gave him poor selections of choices in which to film.  Regardless, the film turned out to be the third biggest hit at the Box Office in 1983, bringing in $94.9 million.
"Flashdance" was only Adrian Lyne's second feature film to direct, having previously directed a young Jodie Foster in "Foxes" (1980).  He would follow "Flashdance" with the popular "Nine 1/2 Weeks" (1986) and an even more popular "Fatal Attraction" (1987). 
The soundtrack itself was amazing and sold over 700 million copies in its first two weeks of release.  Hit songs included "Manhunt" sung by Karen Kamon, "Maniac" sung by Michael Sembello, "Gloria" sung by Laura Branigan, "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" sung by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, and the Academy Award winning "Flashdance... What A Feeling" sung by Irene Cara.
With the exception of an uncredited part as Clifford's friend in "My Bodyguard" in 1980, this could very well be considered Jennifer Beals' (Alex) major film debut who was 18 at the time it was being filmed.  She went on to appear in many other videos, TV shows and made-for-TV films, and feature films and still does to this day.  Other actors in "Flashdance" include Michael Nouri (Nick), Kyle T. Heffner (Richie), Lee Ving (Johnny C.) in his first film debut in person (I say that because before this film he provided the voice of Punk Rocker Lee James Jude in the animated cult classic "American Pop" [1981]), and Sunny Johnson.  Sadly, "Flashdance" was Sunny's last feature film as she died in 1984. 
Based on the life of construction worker/welder-turned-dancer Maureen Marder, here's some more information on "Flashdance" you might like to know...
1.  The film was inspired by a trip to a Toronto strip club.
2.  David Cronenberg was offered the chance to direct but turned it down.
3.  Brian De Palma was set to direct, and was a few weeks into preproduction before dropping this film to do "Scarface".
4.  Before Kyra Sedgwick auditioned for a role here, she was instructed by her agent to wear a leotard, heels and no tights. She wore, instead, a miniskirt and heels and auditioned for director Adrian Lyne whom she berated when he took a call during her audition.   
5.  Andie MacDowell was considered for the role of Alex Owens.
6.  The role of Alex Owens was originally offered to Melanie Griffith, who turned it down. Executives at Paramount Pictures wanted an unknown for the part. A nationwide search for a young actress was narrowed down to three finalists: Leslie Wing, Demi Moore, and Jennifer Beals. Reportedly, a Paramount executive took pictures of the three actresses to a group of construction workers on the studio lot, asking them "Which of these women do you most want to f**k?"  Their answer "Jennifer Beals".   
7.  According to his autobiography "Is That It?" Bob Geldof was offered a role in this film, after director Adrian Lyne was impressed by his performance in "Pink Floyd The Wall". Geldof turned it down.   
8.  Gene Simmons of the rock band KISS was offered the lead male role as Nick Hurley but turned it down in fear of hurting his "demon" image.   
9.  Then-struggling actor Kevin Costner auditioned for the part of Nick Hurley but lost out to Michael Nouri. He was the runner-up for the part.
10.  Jennifer Beals' trend-setting collarless sweatshirt came about by accident. The sweatshirt, which Beals brought from home, had shrunk in the wash and she had to cut the collar off in order to get it over her head. 
11.  Earlier drafts of the screenplay included Alex having a gay man for a best friend. Director Adrian Lyne liked this story because it was rare at that time for films to show straight women having close friendships with gay men. But the storyline was cut from the final script.
12.  Director Adrian Lyne decided that Alex's back story included her having been molested when she was a child. Screenwriter Joe Eszterhas was horrified, saying it would "sink the entire story", and fought furiously with Lyne. The producers later sided with Eszterhas and Lyne gave up on the idea.
13.  Irene Cara wrote the lyrics to the film's Oscar-winning theme song while riding in a car to the recording studio the day she recorded the song.  (Well done, m'lady!  Well done!)  
14.  The hit song "Maniac" was originally intended for the film "Maniac", but was cut out. Soon after the lyrics were toned down and used for this movie.
15.  Marine Jahan was Jennifer Beals' body double for the dancing scenes. Jahan was kept hidden from the press because the filmmakers did not want to ruin the illusion. Alex's leap through the air in the audition scene was done by gymnast Sharon Shapiro and the break-dancing was done by Crazy Legs. Jahan appeared in the music video for "Maniac".
16.  The original cut of the film was 2 hours 20 minutes long. Against the protests of screenwriter Joe Eszterhas and director Adrian Lyne, studio heads Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg insisted that the film be cut down to its actual length.   
And now you know.
Paramount held dancer auditions for a proposed sequel to this film. That film was never made.
Enjoy these picture still from this Totally Awesome Movie of the 80s!...



Nick: When I was a kid all I wanted was to be able to afford to eat in restaurants like this.
Alex Owens: Were you poor?
Nick: I was so poor I had hand-me-down lunches.




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