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Production Information (Cont'd)

While Stanbridge has served as an art director for almost two decades-serving in that capacity on massive films from Star Trek Beyond and Tomorrowland to his work on the Fifty Shades trilogy-Good Boys represents his first big-studio feature as a production designer.

Discussing his inspiration, Stanbridge echoes the screenwriters: "When I read the script, Stand by Me came to mind. It morphed into a different shape over production, but that informed my look book. The main push for the design of the show was to keep it poppy, with bright primary/tertiary colors and elementary shapes like circles and squares-especially within the schools and the boys' bedrooms. We wanted to keep it innocent, in a way, which juxtaposed against the oddity of the kids saying such adult things. It was important for them to exist in a space that reflected their age-and age they should be in-which made what they said even funnier...whether it was vulgar or misunderstood."

Alongside a team of longtime collaborators, the production designer got to work selecting locations in and around Vancouver, British Columbia, and building sets, when necessary. It was important to the production designer that the comedy's settings felt genuine. "Most all of the sets were practical," he says. "There were portions of interiors built, but most were practical and split exterior and interiors, based on size and ability to shoot all over Vancouver. We did most of our neighborhood exteriors in the area by the University of British Columbia, which are green and lush, with nice big trees in an established neighborhood that almost felt like Leave It to Beaver. Interiors of those houses were done further away from that area."

Stanbridge and his team then worked to adapt those locations to suit the film's needs. "Art director SEAN GOOJHA and I have worked together on a few projects, including Tomorrowland," Stanbridge says. "He's a fantastic graphic designer, very conscientious and super-talented. I've worked with my construction and paint team many times and set decorator VICTORIA PEARSON-whom I share a synergetic collaborative mind with-who came with me from Colony."

His primary-colored "poppy" look and feel extended to props design and locations. "We made the drone a lot brighter than most are, and all the locations had patterns and bright colors added," says Stanbridge. "The houses had their own character but still maintain a classic feel." One surprise that shifted his direction was a script rework in which the drone rips through one of the boys' homes. "We had no idea when we picked the practical location for Max's house that we'd have to fly a drone inside and destroy that building. We ended up building pieces later for inserts, but one version was shot in a practical house."

That said, tearing up a home was the least of Stanbridge's challenges. For the largest set component of the show, the designer had to mastermind and bring to life the story's giant highway sequence in which the Beanbag Boys race for their lives across a six-lane highway. "We wanted to do this practically, so we ended up building 300 feet of highway at a rarely used section of Pitt Meadows Airport in British Columbia for the boys to run across the six lanes-then visually extended it [through the brilliant work of VFX producer RAOUL YORKE BOLOGNINI's team]."

The designer admits that, as interesting as it would be to build an actual section of a highway, he didn't want to spend the shoot's entire budget on one set piece. "The way we created it was the most practical thing to do," he says. "There was no way we could shut down a six-lane highway to shoot during the day. Even if we could-just the way that all the barricades are linked together for all the highway K-rails-there would be no way to turn around, do car resets and more in a reasonable amount of time."

One of Stanbridge's favorite sequences of the production was creating and shooting Rock of Ages at the boys' school. "I really liked where we ended with the musical montage on stage," he says. "We wanted it to feel like it wasn't beyond the kids' ability. It didn't have any feel of 'way-too-professional.' We kept it low-fi with cardboard and sponged-on bricks to keep it in their world. That was the impetus of most of the builds-to keep them something a kid would understand and do."

While cinematographer Jonathan Furmanski would end up shooting Stanbridge's sets from the 11-to-12-year-old perspective, the production designer wasn't as beholden to that perspective. "There were generally more than one of the three kids in every scene," he says. "What that meant for us was having spaces that were large enough so that the boys could be together at any given time. We generally didn't make materials higher or lower. They just existed in their world as is. There were no visual jokes for the set design, based on their height."

Nunchucks, Drones and Peaches the Sex Doll
A Boys' Guide to Inappropriate Toys
When it came to explaining to the tween stars what sex dolls and adult toys were, the easy way out for anyone on set became "Um...ask your mom."

While the filmmakers had nothing but support from the families of the kids starring in Good Boys, inevitably, awkward conversations about set props would come up. "The parents read the script, so they knew what they were signing up for," says Gene Stupnitsky. "We'd throw out alts, but the kids didn't know what they were saying. One time, in a scene with the sex doll, they asked us: 'Why does the doll have a vagina?' I was frozen, but Stephen Merchant, bless his heart, jumped in with 'Doctors use it in medical school to practice.' They seemed to be okay with that explanation."

Lee Eisenberg says that their go-to solution was to deflect and move on. "Generally speaking, we didn't engage with them on those questions," he says. "So, if they asked us about what a line meant or what a prop was, we'd say, 'Go ask your mom or dad.' That allowed them to have those awkward conversations." Unsurprisingly, the trio of boys all had a little bit of (mis)information to share. "They'd huddle and trade notes about 'What is this?'" Eisenberg says. "We just wanted them to say the words. The less they knew, the better."

When the screenwriters were crafting the story, they found the best humor came from a place of form following function. "The joke was always 'these are weapons,'" Eisenberg says. "Anything that could be thought of as a weapon and be a sex toy was in. A mask is scary, so 'you can't see our faces.' Nunchucks? Of course. There are only so many sex toys you can use as a weapon. I hope no one ever looks up our Google search from those weeks of trying to figure out how sex toys could be used as weapons."

When asked if these props were Amazon deliveries or from multiple research trips to the adult book store, Stupnitsky replies, dryly, "They're from our personal collection."

Once they agreed upon scenes they wanted to shoot, Stupnitsky and Eisenberg had to work with their heads of department to see what was feasible. "You have an image, then need to make sure you want it on camera," says Eisenberg. "For example, with the ball gag that Lucas puts in his mouth when they're popping his shoulder back in-the imagine I had was from Pulp Fiction. While that ball gag is black, you can't dye something like that to put in someone's mouth. You get into all these weird conversations you never dreamed about when you are writing the script."

Turns out that shooting Good Boys was a fairy tale in a completely different way. "In prepping the movie, the propmaster would come in and say, 'Okay, we have three different anal beads," says Stupnitsky. It was like Goldilocks: 'These are too big, these are too small. These will show just right on camera.' You give notes for shorter, longer, etc., and they give you options. You have to talk to your DP to make sure it reads well on camera and that the colors are right-this one is shiny, this one is matte..."

For all of this, the filmmakers turned to propmaster J DROVER, who most recently served in that function on Robert Zemeckis' Project Blue Book for the History Channel. "This is the first time I've worked with J, and he has an awesome prop-building team," Jeremy Stanbridge says. "They allowed us to highly detail out hand props, which were important in this show-especially with the drone. We redesigned the drone because it would be doing damage." Turns out there were more than a few little kids on set. "Destroying our own sets was fun."

For his part, Drover totally related to the premise of the film. "We've all been or known 11-year-olds with trucker mouths," he says, "and this is very reminiscent of my growing up." Beginning with preproduction, Drover and his team were dealing with a fascinating array of sex toys, luxury lifelike dolls and high-end drones. "We had an endorsement from Pipedream, which is one of the biggest adult-toy designers and manufacturers," Drover says. "They signed on early on to help us out, and they were very flexible. We asked them to send a package of items, and that's what we got in front of Gene and Lee. We'd swing things around and discuss the logistics of whether they'd work like weapons or not."

Drover admits that, at the start of his career, he never imagined one day he'd be hand-making anal beads. "We made a set of our own using metal dowels and craft beads," he says. "We had that molded and cast in soft rubber, so the actors could swing them around and not hurt themselves. Another time, we modified a double dong to have it be stiff enough to go through door handles at the corner store. The special-effects guys were heating up a rod on the side of their truck. Anything to get the shot!"

Turns out that molding and casting multiple anal-bead sets and dildos was only the beginning. Next up: firing several $5,000 sex dolls-ones the crew nicknamed Peaches-out of a van, in preparation for a scene in which a sex doll flies out of a car window. They needed to see exactly how it would look, and which ones would survive the fall. "We had three dolls from Pipedream, and they're a lot of logistical work," Drover says. "They are also quite delicate. You couldn't drop them on the ground because the skin absorbs anything and everything." Plus, as actor Stephen Merchant later discovered, "they're quite heavy and hard to move," Drover says. "I can't imagine using one for extracurricular purposes."

One of the sex dolls is used for "beauty shots" in Thor's house, when Merchant's character is ready to buy Lucas' Ascension card, but instead goes to purchase Peaches "for the carpool lane." The other two were similarly used for purposes for which they were not originally, ahem, designed.

"We spent a lot of time getting the sex doll ready, and Peaches certainly was a heavy one," says additional photography prop master BEN KRAKOWSKY. "I learned a lot, including that they come with a USB vagina warmer." Under the supervision of special effects coordinator PAUL BENJAMIN, the team modified two of the dolls. By lightening Peaches' shell for her aerial trip during the boys' highway jump, the SFX crew could fire her out of an air cannon from the van. (The boy actors, by the way, thought these dolls were CPR dolls.)

One of Peaches' co-stars was wholly not a fan. "The CPR doll was kind of creepy," Jacob Tremblay says. "When it was run over by a car, the eyes popped out, which was scary. I'm already scared of dolls, so that was extra creepy." Moving along to other high-flying props, Drover's team worked closely with their SFX counterparts on the drones, modifying when needed, to make them do what they were never designed to-like trashing a house or cutting flowers. "We used an industrial designer named NOAH LI-LEGER-who helped with 3D printing, laser-cutting and remodeling the sensors, GPS, etc., of these drones," says Drover. "They're the Apple of drones, so it was a triumph to make sure they flew properly."

In sum, the production had a fleet of these drones, eight models, with extra shells, propellers and loaders. "We gutted a couple and inserted new motors, so we could put in our own remote controls," says the prop master. "This equaled a mixture of actual drone flying, as well as a drone on a stick with remote control in the house to get all the shots we needed. VFX got a copy of the drone to scan, and we'd make sure [on-set VFX supervisor] RALPH MAIERS was happy with his visuals and had what he needed to go do his magic."  

Fake Guitars, Baby-Oil Bottles and Paintball I
n addition to all the sex toys and dolls, the film features an epic musical number with Brady Noon's Thor performing Rock of Ages on the middle-school stage. The scene required a whole different category of props. "We called that sequence the 'Pantomime of the Pixie Sticks,' says J Drover. "From all the fake guitars to the hairspray, bandana and microphones, our team would come in, fire it up and see how it all went."

For another scene, a take-no-prisoners frat-house paintball fight, Drover wanted to give Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg endless tools to employ. "We swapped out movie slime in baby-oil bottles," says Drover. "Every time you see a guy hit in the face, that's an air-blown paintball. We had lots of breakaways, like the ping-pong table and towering beer-bong pyramids. It was a lot like setting up dominoes. You spend so much time setting them up. A couple action-packed seconds later? You knock it all down."

Dodging Cars, Flipping Bikes and Studying The Matrix
Boys Will Be Boys
Responsible for the film's many stunts was Good Boys stunt coordinator MAJA ARO, who shares in those duties with her husband and business partner JEFFREY ARO. A busy Vancouver-based team, Maja just wrapped season four of TV's High Castle and Jeff season two of Netflix's Lost in Space. "It was a blast to make this movie," Maja Aro says. "From the beginning, it was special. The cast was so young, it made for a fun, light environment. It was awesome that, for our summer project, we got to take young boys out and ride bikes with them. It might sound simple, but all the boys had to be super comfortable doing that while delivering dialogue. That's very similar to driving cars and recalling lines; it's a different challenge entirely."

The creators were fortunate to have such like-minded stunt coordinators. "We've always looked at this as an adventure film," says Gene Stupnitsky. "We designed it like The Hangover with children. We knew there would be car accidents, shoot-outs, chase scenes and more. That is in the DNA of the movie. Of course, when you're doing that with kids, it takes a lot of planning. You also only get them for a few hours a day and cannot go over."

To the production leads, it felt as if there wasn't an idea their stunt crew couldn't execute. "The stunt people had a trampoline in their living room," says Lee Eisenberg. "The team would send us three-minute clips of someone falling into a life-sized Jenga set or being flipped across the room after being shot by a paintball gun. We'd say, 'Oh, can they fall through a table instead of being knocked over by a chair?' or 'Can they bump into a wall or fall down stairs?' and the next day they'd do it. Maja, Jeff and their crew would walk through the set to make sure it was safe and were so collaborative throughout shooting."

Just as it was for the production designer, the freeway sequence proved the most challenging scenes for the Aros. The VFX team and stunts worked together to make sure it was a seamless inter-department fix. "It looks just like the boys are jamming across the highway," says Maja Aro. "But we had so many moving parts; some vehicles were moving at high speed, others at slow ones. We'd ask: 'When do we use the kids, and when do we use their doubles?' We did all the comp shots with the kids and some lock-offs with the boys running across the road. Then, we'd have a number of amazing drivers slide cars right into their marks. We also layered in a bunch of practical stunts to make sure it was happening beautifully."

The stunt coordinator served double duty on set, portraying one of the drivers who "politely" tells the boys to "get the fuck off" the freeway. "Gene and Lee had a bunch of ladies audition, but they weren't loving them," says Maja Aro. "The guys said, 'Why don't you do it?' That made the boys' day, because we'd become so comfortable over the project. They thought it was so funny that I was the one swearing at them."

Shot at the Pitt Meadows municipal airport about 30 minutes outside Vancouver, the section of road production designer Jeremy Stanbridge designed in an airport parking lot had to look like a highway with busy traffic. To ensure that it could work safely for stunts, the film crew built a race oval. "The traffic starts as a slow crawl, then it picks up and goes fast," says Maja Aro. "We had our team driving on the back side of the set in a loop, then through set on a section of highway."

Peaches, the sex doll, also makes an appearance in the scene, and comes to an untimely end when she's catapulted out of a car driven by Stephen Merchant's character. "Stephen's piece of that scene is on green screen, and on the practical set we used his stunt double," says Maja Aro. "We launched Peaches out of the car window and had a pickup run over her head. We did it all in little pieces to get everything to time out. The two lead cars slide up, and the stunt double did a close run in across that. Then we also layered a comp shot with the actual boys in the scene-with no cars-to make it look like they're right there."

Safely off the "highway," there were many more perils in store for the characters on their epic day of skipped school. For Lucas, played by Keith L. Williams, the most numbing would be when his bike is hurled into the air and he flips into a parked van. "The scene was R&D'd a lot, as the thing Lucas hits changed several times," says Maja Aro. "We kept working with Gene and Lee on what would be funniest. At one point, we had Keith's stunt double [MAYA MACATUMPAG] launching off wires from the bike, but that looked too slow. At another, we had him hit a shopping cart with a homeless person. This ended up being another sequence where we closely worked with VFX."

Williams' stunt double ended up slamming the bike into a bench. Then, she would run and jump off multiple higher decks before hitting the side of the van. "The scene was put together in pieces," says Maja Aro. "There was half-inch foam padding on the side of the van that the paint department made look like metal. Maya was wearing body pads as well, and it's all about how she hit at the last minute. She's almost turning and hitting the van with the side of her back...instead of with her shoulder."

guy onto a beer-pong table. "We knew we could flip it over and that would make a huge, funny mess," Maja Aro says. "Almost all of the guys in this scene are stunt people."

Aro and her husband loved working with the three lead lads. "When you work that closely with kids, you tend to become their buddies or, in my case, their aunty," she says. "They're usually concerned with when they eat and what they get to play with. With this content, they had a lot of questions for Jeff and me. Brady wants to be a stuntman. He wanted to do a lot of his own stunts, and Rock of Ages is all him. We worked with costumes to put knee and elbow pads in what he wore."

Williams and Noon weren't the only Good Boys who got to play on set. Jacob Tremblay told the Aros, and filmmakers Stupnitsky and Eisenberg, that he studied The Matrix to get ready for the paintball showdown at the fraternity. "Jeff and I have a training center at our house, and we had the boys up one day," Aro says. "We have a ton of Nerf guns, and we let the kids go to town with them. Jacob took his paintball training very, very seriously."

Despite all the fun, safety, and the safety of the boys in particular, was always everyone's top priority. "I'm working with Jeff and Maja on another project now," says production designer Jeremy Stanbridge. "Jeff was on Colony and Lost in Space as well, so we have a good understanding of making things look as real as possible, while safe at the same time. The look will never trump safety, and they understand that. They give a lot of leeway with fabrics and textures. I'd come up with ideas, and they'd make it work."

Lensing a Young World
A Tween Point of View
When it came to the cinematography of Good Boys, the rule book for your typical comedy was immediately thrown out the window. From the beginning, the filmmakers and cinematographer Jonathan Furmanski discussed establishing a more cinematic feel with a real sense of spectacle. While many sequences are laced with humor, there's also a sense of adventure and excitement to the scenes, such as the highway-crossing scene, plaza chase or frat-house fight.

To establish this look, Furmanski used an anamorphic lens for the wide-screen format, which had a grand feeling and was able to get all boys into the frame. It also established a touch of that throwback feeling to the '80s and its embedded sense of nostalgia.

The Good Boys' creators were honored to have the DP on their side. "Jonathan was a blessing for us to have as first-time directors," says Gene Stupnitsky. "He was so patient and very even-keeled, a great partner to have." Adds Lee Eisenberg: "On a set like this, you need patience. He was so collaborative and brought so many ideas to the table."

Some of the reference points that the filmmakers used were Stand by Me and The Goonies, as well as other '80s coming-of-age stories. "Whether whimsical adventure stories or straight-up comedies, we wanted to have an element of that so those are the movies we first talked about," Furmanski says. "As the movie developed a bit more and we dug deeper, we talked about movies like It, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and surprisingly, Attack the Block. We wanted the movie to have one foot in throwback and another firmly in 2019. It's a modern movie, but we wanted it to feel like it has some roots in those '70s, '80s teen comedy or adventure stories."

It was important for Furmanski to ensure that the world created on camera would be colorful, bright and as seen through the eyes of a sixth-grader. "Everything seemed a bit more vibrant and exciting," he says. "I tried to shoot at their eye level. If there were tall people in the room, we tried to make it look a little ominous and looming. We tried to portray everything from their experience."

The idea was not to take an adult point of view and put it on the kids, nor was it to make the kids seem older than they are. "The language is a lot more adult-oriented than you find in your typical 12-year-olds' film," Furmanski says. "That was part of the joy of it. It's silly that the kids talk the way that they do and about the things that they do. As it often happens, they don't always know what things really mean. There's this moment of innocence before they actually deliver this R-rated material."

Not only was there a limit on the number of hours that the children could be on set, the technical requirements of acting in a movie must be managed in a unique way. "In large part, the boys were learning while shooting," Furmanski says. "They learned how to hit their marks properly, to avoid looking at the lens and to open up to the lens so we could see their facial expressions and body language."

The cinematographer worked on ensuring that the blocking was kept as simple as possible, so that the actors could concentrate on their lines and performances rather than hitting several marks in a take. He tried to give them freedom and space and made sure he was always there when the jokes hit. "Everything needed to be built around the idea that the jokes play as strongly as possible on screen, but then after that we let the scenes tell us where they wanted to go a little bit more," Furmanski says.

In order to avoid risking the kids becoming disengaged in the process, it was crucial for production to keep it fun for them. "We were basically 150 aunts and uncles running around trying to keep them entertained, amused and engaged," Furmanski says. "That way, when they stepped on their marks, their energy was up and they were free to perform the way they needed to."

One of the most epic setups is a sequence with the boys crossing a highway-a scene that required stunts and a combination of practical and special effects. "We spent a lot of time talking about it, and it paid off," Furmanski says. "It felt like a real moment for the kids, not only because of the physical action, but it almost felt like a figurative threshold that they were crossing over from being adolescents into being young adults. The scene really has a lot of weight."

Most of the scenes take place in bright, sunny exteriors, except for one: the frat house. It embodies a more grown-up sense of place for the kids-a darker, moodier and hazy atmosphere that's shrouded in mystery for the boys. "It's the least familiar environment for the kids in the entire film, so we really got to play with light and shadow and kept things a bit more down and gritty," Furmanski says.

Dancing Tweens
Animatronic Bears and Inappropriate Musicals
When the boys weren't working on stunts, they could be found with the movement team of PAUL BECKER, who has choreographed for the Jonas Brothers during concerts worldwide, as well as for Deadpool 2, Disney's Descendants and the hit series Riverdale. "Gene and Lee were looking for a choreographer who had worked with children," says Becker. "I met with the guys, and we hit it off instantly. I've done a number of films with kids, and my comedic instincts are similar to the guys'. It felt like a perfect fit."

Becker explains his process of planning edits well before principal photography begins. "I build the choreography for a scene with a skeleton crew of a few dancers who represent each character and we pre-shoot everything; that makes it easier for the directors to translate," he says. "Otherwise, if it's just a wide shot of people dancing, they won't know where the focus is. I try to give them my eye and my focus right away. For Gene and Lee, I would pre-shoot and edit a sequence, and we'd use that pre-vis for our shot list."

Once he has broken down the script and figured out what the relationships are among the characters, Becker plays the song key to the scene and reads it aloud before moving on to choreography. "I build it before the cast even arrives, so they can step into their spot," he says. "Of course, when the actors arrive, they bring their own flavor to it, so I don't want to have it completely created."

Becker and cinematographer Jonathan Furmanski worked hand in hand to nail the best way to lens the sequences. "The guys brought me on because of my strengths," Becker says, "and they were humble about what they knew. They wanted guidance to help the musical numbers work, and I'm glad I could help them."

Even though the trio of Good Boys-and much of the supporting kid cast-had performed in front of the camera, Becker took seriously his job to bring out their inner dancers and singers. During rehearsals he did "Mr. K-style exercises to get it out of them," he says. "For example, I had them do the crazy dance just to loosen them up."

One of the most poignant scenes in the film was purposely designed to make it feel like Becker and his crew were never there. Lucas' parents' break-up story is intercut with Lucas crying during the choir class' upbeat rendition of Katrina and the Waves' "Walking on Sunshine." Becker adds, "Most people will watch that scene and not know there's choreography. That's how I know I did my job correctly; most choreography should look unchoreographed." The filmmakers had labored to find the perfect song for that scene. "We always knew it'd be a cut from Lucas finding out his parents are getting divorced to being tight on his face while he's singing," says Lee Eisenberg. "We loved the idea of everyone in his class singing and doing a lame dance, then you have a kid who is crying and continuing to dance through it. That was always our first choice."

When it came to Thor's Rock of Ages extravaganza, Becker laughs that he had to condense the entire musical into two minutes of story beats. "The scene was one of the most politically incorrect and uncomfortable scenes I've staged in my entire life," he says. "Gene and Lee were talking through me to the kids, so I had to relate all information. We follow the story of our rock star, Thor, as he rises to fame, crumbles down and rises back up-all with inappropriate things children shouldn't be doing."

The filmmakers loved the idea of it. "We got excited by the idea of Rock of Ages," says Eisenberg. "We love the era, and the teacher, Mr. K, who has infused it with his own life story."

When the kids were on set, it was often playtime. "Brady has this charisma, crassness and likability that reminds me of the bad kid in school you just can't hate," Becker says, "That's the element of Rock of Ages that I love. In the studio, we had to tell these kids to do curious things. There's this gray area and fine line between being a teacher and choreographer. Their parents are there, but here I am telling them to swear or flip the middle finger as they're walking and dancing away. The kids were so open. We had to tame them a little bit."

Like his cohorts, Becker appreciates Good Boys' juxtaposition of deep heart and shocking filth. "Gene and Lee gave me an outline and said, 'Go and play,'" he says. "It was a blast, and I left no stone unturned. There's a moment where Brady as Thor arrives in Hollywood and is greeted by a prostitute. Lee and Gene had me tell the dancer to lead Brady into the bathroom with a donut, close the stall as he puts the powder on his lips. Then, they wanted Brady to exit the bathroom as if he's high on powdered donut, crashing to his downfall onto the floor."

Similar to the production designer's mindset that the musical should look as if it were created by middle schoolers, Becker took pride in "making everything 10 percent worse," he says. "The beauty of this scene is that it's supposed to be bad. I had the duty of choreographing something that was supposed to look not polished...yet be polished for film. That was quite a challenge."

Brady Noon not only lent his stunt abilities to Thor's epic Rock of Ages performance, but his vocal ones as well. "The performance took one session to get fully down," Noon says. "We had a 3D model of what it would look like, so I had an idea of what it would be and how to flip the table. I broke three plastic tables and two wooden tables during rehearsal. I picked up the routine quickly and thought it was so fun. I'd never had a choreographer before, so I learned a lot of moves to show off to my friends."

For a different scene inside a pizza restaurant, Becker choreographed a creepy animatronic band. (Let's face it, what middle-school ditch day would be complete without one?) "One of our favorite days to choreograph was when we had three animatronic characters playing musical instruments," Becker says. "The boys are on the dance floor before Lucas vomits inside a ball-pen. There is a bear on a piano, a kangaroo playing the drums and a gorilla at the tambourine. That's all humans; we got the actors to perform as robots."

A Fun Roller-Coaster Ride
Good Boys' Good Time Music
Brought aboard to curate the musical selections for Good Boys was music supervisor Michelle Silverman, who recently brought the soundtrack of the blockbuster Aquaman to life. With a fascinating resume of work on films as diverse as From Dusk Till Dawn and Happy Gilmore to Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and Never Been Kissed-not to mention smash TV series including AMC's Sons of Anarchy to YouTube's Cobra Kai- Silverman was attracted to work on what she calls Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky's "big music-driven project."

A musician herself, Silverman feels that periods in her own life were "set to my own soundtrack," and wanted to infuse the film with that feeling. "The movies that influenced me growing up were everything from Grease, Fame and all of John Hughes' films," she says. "If it was music-driven, a movie left such an impression on me. Lee, Gene and I started talking about music ideas and how music should have its own identity in film. With Good Boys, we wanted it to feel like a fun roller-coaster ride."

Silverman also has a child who is the same age as the boys in this comedy. "The story resonated with me and where my daughter was at," she says. "They're going through the same type of journey." She and the filmmakers dove into the process with gusto. "The guys had a bunch of ideas, as did I," she says. "We'd email back and forth until everyone said, 'This is the one.' It was a very collaborative process among Lee, Gene, Good Universe, Point Grey and me."

Capturing the emotional impact of music was key. She focused on songs that make you feel like you're going on a wild ride that you didn't know you were signing up for. "It's a comedy, so we wanted to keep it light and with energy," she says. "I started putting together ideas with that tone, and I put my songs in a Dropbox link for Lee and Gene to listen to while they were shooting. I'd send selections over to our musical editor, RICK ZIEGLER, and he'd try them to picture. The guys loved that process of trying out different songs with different scenes."

A student of Danny Bramson, the storied music supervisor of Almost Famous and Singles, Silverman believes that there should be no rest until a scene has the perfect song. With the on-cameras of "Walking on Sunshine" and "I Want to Know What Love Is," she wanted the music to match "the big moments in the show."

"For 'Walking on Sunshine,' Gene and Lee wanted to find a song a middle-school choir would actually sing...and have that set against a sad moment for Lucas," Silverman says. "They were looking for the right song that goes against the grain of 'everything is great,' when it's really not."

Silverman went very '80s with certain choices but chose to go across the decades as well. "We even have 'Can't Get Enough of Your Love' in there, so the film transcends time," she says. "Kids have YouTube and Spotify and understand so much more about music than I did at that age. On my daughter's playlist is everything from bands like All Time Low to Elton John."

The creative process was always collaborative, and never push/pull. "The guys loved 'Oblivion,' so they wanted to keep that one," Silverman says, "but they went through so much music. They would listen to hundreds of songs per scene, and they were very specific about what they needed. 'Race with the Devil' is set to such a great scene in the fraternity house when the Beanbag Boys are in the Nerf/paintball war. Another song that resonates with me is Asia's 'Heat of the Moment' when the kids are playing Spin the Bottle. I love that song, and what a special moment in the film it is."

When it came to the rock ballad in the film's third act, it took quite some time to pick just the right tunes. Fortunately, the story's creators loved "I Want to Know What Love Is." Says Silverman: "It was a three-step process, one that began with asking what musical makes sense for the kids to sing and dance to. Once we chose Rock of Ages, we had to narrow down from all the artists in that musical. After we selected the band, we focused on Gene and Lee's favorite Foreigner song. I feel lucky to work with them; they're so talented."

The collaboration with Good Boys' composer Lyle Workman happened through their shared music editor, Rick Ziegler. "I'd go back and forth through Rick, as he was dealing with both of us," she says. "We'd share notes that way, and it was fabulous."

Silverman was also duly impressed with the boys' vocal talents. "The three boys are outstanding," she says. "I was blown away by their singing, and that what you're hearing are Jacob, Lucas and Brady's voices. Our music production team [executive music producers STEFANIE FINK and ALANA DA FONSECA] went in the studio and recorded them, and we were all so impressed by their voices. They got the boys to the place they needed to be, which was fantastic."

Quite the Fashion Maven
Film Costumes
The costumes are extensions of the tween's personalities, and because Good Boys is primarily set in one day, finding the right outfit for each character was key. "They're wearing the same clothes for the majority of the film," Gene Stupnitsky says. "We threw a lot of ideas at our costume designer, Carla Hetland, and she was always game."

Hetland, who currently serves in the same capacity on Project Blue Book, the blockbuster History Channel series about the father of ufology, has also worked with Point Grey on The Interview and 50/50. She was thrilled to return to the fold and appreciates the heart of what Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg created. "They're all such great guys and so much fun," Hetland says. That warmth extended to the trio of stars on set. "I'd watch the monitor and get such a kick out of those kids," Hetland says.

The costume designer aimed to ensure that each piece was maximized on screen. "When you have a story where most of it takes place in one day, you have to make sure that costumes chosen for each character are spot-on, and everyone is happy with the clothes because the cast, crew and the audience will be looking at them for a good length of time," Hetland says. "It can be challenging to get that iconic look. Imagine that you're at a Halloween party, and you saw someone in a Brady, Thor or Max costume. You'd want to instantly know who they are."

When the designer-who shares that this comedy is the biggest production she's ever done with a principally young cast-approached her look-book for the Beanbag Boys, she felt it was crucial to have their clothes match their personalities. "For each one of the kids, we wanted to have a unique style," Hetland says. It was important to give all of them a distinct appearance that felt grounded, without pointing at the joke too much. "For example, Lucas is wearing a lot of colorful T-shirts with rainbows and animals," Eisenberg says. "It's as if he's dressed like a third-grader."

To express Lucas' naivete, Hetland gave him a Garanimals-inspired sense of style. "Lucas is the innocent one of the bunch and very close to his parents, so we wanted him to be more childlike and colorful," Hetland says. "We outfitted him with all kinds of kid-like designs, from ice-cream cones to dinosaurs hugging."

Through the process, the filmmakers discovered that Keith L. Williams, who plays Lucas, took a particular interest in the subject. "Keith is a real fashion maven," Stupnitsky says. "He loves clothes and talking about them. We asked him what he was going to wear to the film's premiere, and he's already figured it out. He said, 'I'm going to wear something perfect.'"

When it came to Thor's rock-'n'-roll clothes, Brady Noon was certainly on board with dressing like a tween badass. "As we landed on what Brady's personality was like, he went from nerd to a bit of a rebel," Hetland says. "We wanted to give him an edgy look, where he's trying to be cool." That was reflected in Thor's epic Rock of Ages number. "We had lots of reference material, so we tried to make it feel unique," Hetland says. "The film's story has such an '80s vibe, so we had tons of fun putting together Brady's look for the show, as well as the costumes for his back-up performers in the musical."

Likewise, Jacob Tremblay as Max was quite the sixth-grade fashionista, but in a more subdued manner. "Max's look was more straightforward, as he's the one growing up the fastest," Hetland says. "Whereas the others are trying very hard, Max has his signature jacket and hoodie but isn't as colorful as the other kids in his school."

Since Molly and Lily are having their own adventure, older teens in Good Boys have their signature style as well. "We wanted to have a number of cool looks for the high-school and college kids," Hetland says. "We'd start by figuring out their interests, personalities, parents they have and the types of music that they listen to-all that came into play." She drew much inspiration from production designer Jeremy Stanbridge's choices. "For example, for the set of a well-to-do family, their house would have modern, clean lines," Hetland says. "Likewise, a middle-class family in our film might have a cozy home with lots of prints. I looked at what Jeremy was doing, and his designs allowed me to inform what the kids were wearing."

Naturally, it wouldn't be just one outfit worn throughout production. The costume designer's team needed many, many iterations of the clothes. "We had to have multiple versions of the boys' outfits," Hetland says. "Not just for stunts, but because they're kids who love to eat ice cream and everything else. We would try to give them a different shirt to wear when they were eating, but we weren't always successful at keeping them clean. I'd say that 25 percent of the time they got away from us."


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