Though you’ve already marked Feb. 11, 2011, on your calendar as the day “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never” will be released, perhaps you’ll be interested in some behind-the-scenes details. How did such a film come to be? Join us as we eavesdrop on a meeting a few months ago in a Hollywood conference room.
The Pitch Meeting for ‘Justin Bieber: Never Say Never’
JON CHU: Good afternoon, gentlemen! My name is Jon Chu.
STUDIO EXEC #1: The Jon Chu?
STUDIO EXEC #2: Director of “Step Up 2: The Streets” and “Step Up 3-D”?
JON CHU: Yes, that’s me. You’re familiar with my work?
STUDIO EXEC #3: Familiar with it? Your IMDb page is my screen saver!
STUDIO EXEC #1: You’re easily the most talented director currently working in the genre of movies about people stepping up!
STUDIO EXEC #2: I had your face tattooed on my buttock!
JON CHU: Well, thank you, I’m flattered. I hope you’ll be interested in the project I’d like to pitch to you today…
STUDIO EXEC #3: If it’s “Step Up 4,” the answer is YES!
JON CHU: No, it’s not that…
STUDIO EXEC #1: Oh! Jumping ahead to “Step Up 5,” are we? It’s unorthodox, but I like it.
JON CHU: No, no, it’s not a “Step Up” movie at all.
STUDIO EXEC #2: Hmm. Interesting angle.
STUDIO EXEC #3: We’re listening.
STUDIO EXEC #1: But not for long.
JON CHU: It’s a 3-D concert film. Starring Justin Bieber.
STUDIO EXEC #2: Oh my heck!
STUDIO EXEC #3: Brilliant!
STUDIO EXEC #1: Sweet hosannas in butter sauce!
STUDIO EXEC #2: Justin Bieber? In 3-D? It’s the perfect combination of things whose popularity will never fade!
JON CHU: I knew you’d like it! We can release it around Valentine’s Day, so that Justin Bieber’s fans can think of it as his gift to them.
STUDIO EXEC #3: Have you already made the necessary arrangements with Justin Bieber himself?
JON CHU: Yes. I’ve spoken with his handlers and trainers, and they assure me he’ll have learned all the new commands in time for the shoot.
STUDIO EXEC #1: Would it be presumptuous of me to ask whether Justin Bieber will do any stepping up in this film?
JON CHU: Oh, I’m certain of it.
STUDIO EXEC #2: Now, how broad do you think the film’s appeal will be?
JON CHU: Well, obviously, it will mostly appeal to people who are already Justin Bieber fans.
STUDIO EXEC #3: Right. But will it appeal to ALL of them?
JON CHU: Oh, I hope the film will be of interest to the entire spectrum of Justin Bieber fans, from the 8-year-old white girls all the way up to the 13-year-old white girls.
STUDIO EXEC #1: We don’t want to alienate any of them.
JON CHU: Absolutely not. Ideally, you’ll go into a movie theater on Valentine’s Day and see the place filled with people of every caucasian ethnicity, every female gender, and every age under 14.
STUDIO EXEC #2: A real melting pot.
JON CHU: Exactly.
STUDIO EXEC #3: Do you have a particular “theme” in mind for the movie? Or do you just want to put a camera on a tripod in front of a stage for 90 minutes and film whatever Justin Bieber does?
JON CHU: I do have a theme in mind.
STUDIO EXEC #2: OK. But just so you know, we’re cool with the camera-on-a-tripod thing, too.
STUDIO EXEC #3: We could probably just use the venue’s surveillance cameras.
JON CHU: I was thinking we’d call it “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never.”
STUDIO EXEC #1: Hmm. Kind of negative, don’t you think?
JON CHU: I beg your pardon?
STUDIO EXEC #2: Well, you’ve got the word “never” in there twice.
STUDIO EXEC #3: The title’s only three words long, and two of those words are “never.”
JON CHU: Yeah, but that’s…
STUDIO EXEC #1: What about “Always Say Never”? That’s much more positive-sounding.
STUDIO EXEC #2: Or “Never Say Sometimes”! See, that’s hopeful!
JON CHU: Well, I guess we can talk about it…
STUDIO EXEC #3: Sure, sure. Put a pin in that one. We’ll come back to it. So what’s the concept you’re going for?
JON CHU: As you know, Justin Bieber was raised by a single mother in Canada and never thought he would be a world-famous celebrity. But he worked tirelessly to hone his craft and improve his talents, dreaming that the day would come when he’d achieve success. And then — finally — after five or six months of striving, he got his big break.
STUDIO EXEC #1: Such an inspiring story. To think he worked all that time in obscurity and poverty…
STUDIO EXEC #2: For the better part of a year, wasn’t it?
STUDIO EXEC #3: And then finally accomplished the thing that he’d set his mind on 18 months earlier.
JON CHU: Right. It sends a positive message to the kids. If you want something bad enough, you can achieve it, within a year or so.
STUDIO EXEC #1: Yes! Never give up! Even if it takes you from the time you’re 10 all the way until the time you’re 12!
STUDIO EXEC #2: Will you be able to cover the entire depth and breadth of Justin Bieber’s career in one movie?
JON CHU: I hope so. Most of his fans want to hear his newest material, of course, but we’ll throw the old-school fans a bone, too, and include some songs from back in 2009.
STUDIO EXEC #3: The real fans will appreciate a trip down memory lane.
JON CHU: Exactly. Now, I hope we can get started on this right away, before his voice changes and his trainers have to put him down.
STUDIO EXEC #1: Yes. Strike while the iron is hot and the hormones haven’t kicked in and the product hasn’t had to be euthanized yet, that’s what I always say.