The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday December 8th

Director Brings Experience Home to UNC

Discuss cheerleading, and images of Toni Basil's "Mickey" music video immediately spring to mind.

It certainly did for UNC alumnus, Student Television veteran and "Bring It On" director Peyton Reed, as he ended his first feature film with a post-millennium homage to the '80s pop song that made cheerleading cool for the MTV crowd.

"We sort of decided that we couldn't do a cheerleading movie and not do `Mickey,'" he said.

With an open week in between projects, Reed arrived in North Carolina for a week of relaxation. A member of STV in the mid '80s, Reed will conduct a lecture tonight sponsored by the campus television station.

But don't expect the lecture to be too formal, as even 14 years in the entertainment industry have not dulled Reed's sense of humor.

"Well, I'd use `lecture' in the loosest sense of the word," he said, laughing.

The director's good humor was also met with good luck. Despite his modest expectations for "Bring It On," Reed, 36, found the film to meet both critical and commercial acclaim, and he celebrated for one weekend before going back to work.

Reed said he liked "Bring It On" for its unique look at cheerleading, a high school subculture generally scoffed at in most of the teen movies for which Reed feels an affection. The visual possibilities of a cheerleading movie, which would allow Reed to shoot several choreographed routines in the film, also piqued his interest.

After taking the director's chair, Reed said his exuberance was matched by the cast's - which included Kirsten Dunst - and the film's production felt little like a normal filmmaking experience.

"This movie was a blast to make - we had a really young, energetic and enthusiastic cast," he said. "It was like summer camp in a way, and I was the camp counselor - and hopefully that shows up on-screen."

Reed's good humor, however, does not eclipse his work ethic. He realized the film needed revision and tried to cast Dunst, although she already declined the role once before. The two agreed to make the characters more sympathetic and realistic, and Dunst joined the cast.

"I really wanted to change the dialogue and let the film have a sense of reality," he said. "Some parts of the movie were so Disney-esque that it needed balance."

Reed also sought out a new title for his film throughout production. Originally entitled "Cheer Fever," Reed accumulated hundreds of titles from the cast and crew until "Bring It On" was suggested. Although he originally disliked the title, Reed said he changed his mind when he realized the title matched the film's attitude.

With a successful and busy year behind him, Reed said he looks forward to giving future filmmakers advice on what he considers a crazed industry. "(Entertainment) is a weird business to work in," he said. "It's a little more random, and it's great to hear the weird and different stories of how people get there . not that I'm `there' yet."

Reed will speak at 7:30 p.m. tonight at 103 Bingham Hall. The talk is open to the public.

The Arts & Entertainment Editor can be reached


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