The 2001 Josie and the Pussycats movie has gone from a box office disappointment that baffled reviewers, to a cult classic with a hardcore fan base, in the couse of the last two decades. The film, which satirized the music industry at the turn of the century as well as American commercialism, is widely regarded now as being ahead of its time -- even though a lot of people didn't "get" the film upon release. With the 20th anniversary coming up next year, you can be sure there will be lots more chatter about the film -- and we're getting a head start.
ComicBook.com managed to get our hands on a set of photocopied blueprints, used during set construction for Josie and the Pussycats. The film had to transform a lot of fairly common places like strip malls and Virgin Megastores (if you're under 20, ask your parents) into uniquely Riverdale locales.
That's right -- this is one of the first times Archie's hometown made it to live action -- and certainly the first time it was updated for the twenty-first century. That makes some of these blueprints fairly interesting.
The designs came from Jasna Stefanovic, a production designer who has also worked on movies like Cube, The Virgin Suicides, and Tideland.
Another thing that makes them interesting? The logos.
If you've seen the film, you know that corporate logos and product placement are omnipresent, appearing in virtually every scene and often in every shot in a scene. Fans of the movie will know that the production received no money for these placements -- rather, it was part of the film's commentary on commercialization in pop culture. Some companies even requested their logos not be used for the film, fearing audiences would associate them with the evil corporation at the heart of a plot against the youth of America.
That means these blueprints have some fun Easter eggs, including at least one big company whose logo is specifically barred from appearing in scenes...even though they were seemingly using a practical location where that company's logo already appeared.
Earlier this year, we had a Quarantine Watch Party with Josie and the Pussycats filmmakers Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan. The film's legacy has been a strange one over the years, and the directors -- who don't spend a lot of time on social media -- were largely unaware of the movie's cult classic status until a relatively recent screening party thrown by Alamo Drafthouse to celebrate the soundtrack's first-ever vinyl release in 2017.
Check out (most of) what we found below!
The film's establishing shots take place at an airport, where the boy band DuJour (played by Seth Green, Donald Faison, Breckin Meyer, and Alexander Martin) are swarmed by adoring fans in a scene reminiscent of the Beatles' arrival in America. Here's a shot of both the overhead layout of the airport, and some of the signing they needed to make in set construction to make it look convincing.prevnext
A key scene in the film takes place in the private plane, where DuJour are abandoned to crash and die by their manager (Alan Cumming) after they become suspicious of a conspiracy in which he (and the pilot, apparently) are complicit. You can check out some looks at the DuJour plane here.prevnext
The Pussycats' plane
The Pussycats has the same private plane as DuJour, basically (minus the crash damage), but there are a few tells (including the placement of characters in the mock-ups) that show that the "#2" jet is the Josie jet.prevnext
There were a LOT of blueprints for various plane- and airport-related things in the batch we managed to get our hands on. That makes sense, because even though that wasn't a huge portion of the film, it was a difficult portion to shoot.prevnext
Welcome to Riverdale
The first half of the film happens largely in Riverdale, as the band plays, gets hassled by locals, and gets discovered by an agent with an ulterior motive. You can see some of the signage for Riverdale here.prevnext
More of the Riverdale Strip
Let's check out some of the layout, and some of the logos, for the Riverdale strip. Chime in in the comments below, or hit me up at @russburlingame on Twitter, if you can find the one that didn't make the movie.prevnext
Shortly after the loss of DuJour (but before the discovery of the Pussycats, Wyatt Frame (Cumming) headed to a Megarecords-owned megastore to play a final DuJour tune and gauge the response of the Riverdale teens.prevnext