Andy Fickman is the director of such films as “Race to Witch Mountain”, “The Game Plan” and “She’s the Man”. His newest film is called “You Again” and features the amazing talent of Kristen Bell, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sigourney Weaver, and Betty White. Movie Mikes had a chance to talk with Andy to discuss “You Again” and also his other projects.
Click here to purchase Andy’s movies
Mike Gencarelli: How was it working with so many amazing women on “You Again”; Kristen Bell, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sigourney Weaver, and Betty White?
Andy Fickman: It was a dream come true. Kristin Bell and I have been working together now for a decade. I first cast her, here in New York, when she was a student at NYU. We did a stage version of “Reefer Madness” before the film version. “You Again” was the perfect fit for her and I to work together again. Once we got Kristen, I kind of made this wish list. Who should be the mom? Who should be the aunt? Someday I hope I can repeat this, but we actually got everyone that we were hoping to. Jamie Lee Curtis was the first person we went after. For me, I like to sit with the actors and talk about material not just be based on “What did you think of the script” or an audition. Talking with Jamie Lee was exactly what I would have hoped it would have been. We immediately got on same page of what the script needed to due further and what was good. Once I got Jamie, the real challenge was to find someone to play opposite her, since she is such a strong actress both comedically and dramatically. Sigourney Weaver was the first conversation we all had and then I found myself sitting with Sigourney. At that point, I had this fanboy moment when I thought I am put Ripley again Laurie Strode. I have “Alien” vs. “Halloween” and I was as happy as I could get as a fanboy. From there we spent a couple of hours laughing. Then we had the role of grandma role. We kept calling it the “Betty White-role”. We never really thought to see if Betty White would like to do the “Betty White-role”. She said, Yes and we were off to the races.
Mike Gencarelli: This is your third outing with Disney following two major hits, “Race to Witch Mountain” and “The Game Plan”, how has it been to switch from working with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson” to “You Again” cast?
Andy Fickman: It was great. The women do not take nearly long in hair and makeup and Dwayne does [laughs]. The key for me is when I am casting actors to work with, I look for those who are really going to enjoy the process. I come out a theater background. I do not look for actors that just want to take a paycheck but someone who will spend the time investing in the character with me that is what interests me. That is why working with Dwayne is so great. You just cross your fingers with future projects and hope you get that lucky again.
Mike Gencarelli: What was the most challenging part of directing “You Again”?
Andy Fickman: When you have a lot of wonderful actors for a tremendous about of time on screen at the same time, it is hard. Any time you have an ensemble that that good of a cast the goal is to make sure that everyone is utilized properly. You never want to have your MVP sitting on a bench. That is definitely one of the biggest challenges. We also have a lot of dances and music scenes. In “The Game Plan”, it was the football element. In “She’s the Man”, it was the soccer. “Race to Witch Mountain” was all action. Here it was just a lot of dance and music. It was very similar to me going back to “Reefer Madness”.
MG: Tell us about your project “Pool Rats”?
AF: Yeah, it is a project that is very near and dear to me called “Pool Rats”. It is something I am in the process of co-writing with my “The Game Plan” writers, Kathryn Price and Nichole Millard. It is something for me to direct and also produce. It is a true story, very personal, about a summer when I was a swim team coach in Houston shortly after my father passed away. It is a coming of age/feel good movie. I am really passionate about it.
MG: You also have several other development deals in the works including “Solstice”, what can you tell us about that film?
AF: It is a really cool project that I am working on as a writer and a producer. I am working with Marty Bowen and John Goldstone. It is a supernatural adult thriller and it is based on a original idea. It has been a great project to work on so far.
MG: Like you aren’t doing enough with directing movies, I hear you are also developing stage musical for “Heathers” and “Dennis the Menace”. Can you tell us about these?
AF: “Heathers” we have been working on for a while now with the original creators Daniel Waters and Larry O’ Keefe, who got a Tony nomination for “Legally Blonde” on Broadway and Kevin Murphy who did the music for “Reefer Madness”. We have been having a great time. We are doing a concert reading real soon. With “Dennis the Menace” we are also work with Kevin Murphy. While putting this project together, it has really proven to be a really fun family musical. We just did a stage reading in Seattle that went phenomenal. We are now in negotiations with a theater for a potential launch next summer.
Click here to purchase Andy’s movies