Just hours from the time of this writing, Letters to Cleo singer Kay Hanley will take to the stage to sing music from the Josie and the Pussycats soundtrack for the first time in front of a live audience as part of a 16th anniversary screening, concert, and Q&A timed to the release of the soundtrack on vinyl for the first time ever tomorrow from Mondo.
Numerous sites have written retrospectives on the film today, with the over-arching theme seemingly that Josie and the Pussycats is an underrated gem that deserves the second look it seems to be getting.
The film, though, was created in a time before the internet, and so not every molecule of news was hyper-examined the way it is for comic book movies today. The result is that recent interviews, along with the film's DVD commentary track and various other news stories, provide a glimpse into Josie and the Pussycats that likely very few fans have had before.
We're going to run down some of the most interesting stuff below, although it's worth noting that yes, we all know about the product placement.
If you don't, here's the skinny: the film is a lampoon of the commercialization of the music industry, and it features corporate logos everywhere. Since the whole film talks about "selling out," plenty of critics complained that the movie was guilty of hypocrisy.
The biggest defense that the movies fans have cited over the years? The filmmakers didn't get paid for any of that product placement; it was all there just to be satirized.
So, with that out of the way, let's move along to some of the less-well-known trivia...!
Two of the three 'Riverdale' Pussycats have said they want the 2001 cast on the show
During our chat with Murray on the carpet at last May's CW upfronts, we asked the actress and musician who she would like to bring in, if she could cherry pick one name from throughout all of Josie and the Pussycats's screen history.
"I can only pick one?" She pleaded. "Can't it just be all? It would be amazing if somehow all of the Pussycats from the movie made just like a cameo appearance in three different ways in three different situations. That would make me very happy. I don't know if there's any way that could happen, but maybe!"
During a recent interview on Archie Digest: A Riverdale Podcast, actress and musician Hayley Law said she wanted to see Alan M and Alexander Cabot -- but that's not all.
"I know it wasn't a big hit when it came out, but I love the movie," Law said. "I think it's great,a nd I think the way that they played those characters was really funny and I'd love to see a little bit of that in season 2."
Law said that when she first got the job, her immediate instinct was that she needed to talk to Rosario Dawson, who played Valerie in the feature film, but that she couldn't make it happen.
"I thought she was so cool in Josie and the Pussycats because I think it's so weird that I'm playing Valerie because I loved her in that," Law said.
Asked whether she would like to see somebody from the 2001 movie come to Riverdale, Law thought for a long moment, before deciding on Josie herself.
"It would be cool to have Rachael Leigh Cook be involved with the music -- like an A&R or something," she said.
Artists and repertoire (A&R) is the division of a record label or music publishing company that is responsible for talent scouting and overseeing the artistic development of recording artists and songwriters -- so essentially Cook in this scenario would be playing the role X2: X-Men United star Alan Cumming played in the feature film.prevnext
Beyonce auditioned for a role in the film
A number of notable musicians auditioned for the film -- including Beyoncé Knowles, who would later become one of the biggest stars on the planet.
The revelation came as part of an interview with Billboard, who were speaking with directors Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan as well as star Rachael Leigh Cook and Hanley ahead of a concert tonight in Los Angeles in which Hanley will play songs from the Josie and the Pussycats soundtrack for the first time live.
"The list of people who auditioned to be in the movie. The fact that Beyoncé, Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes and Aaliyah came in to audition was crazy," Elfont said. "I think it was 2000. We read Left Eye twice. She really wanted to play the part. Beyoncé was really quiet and shy. Who knew? It was a comedy and Aaliyah was more serious and thoughtful. We wanted someone who could really play the comedy."
When the film was in production, Beyoncé would have been well-known as a part of Destiny's Child but wasn't the global phenom that she would later become.
Had she won the role of Valerie Brown -- eventually played in the film by Rosario Dawson -- the band's meteoric rise in the film would likely have turned into a metaphor for Beyoncé herself in the years following the film's release and subsequent box office failure.
The Billboard story does not make clear what role the women were auditioning for -- it could have been Josie -- but unlike the reinvented Pussycats of Riverdale, the Josie movie featured the characters looking more or less like the cartoon and comics, so the obvious assumption is that they would have been auditioning for the one character of color.prevnext
There was a novelization
Yep, there was a novelization of Josie and the Pussycats.
Written by Cathy East Dubowski, the book was such a literal translation of the film that it lost a lot of the irony and satire in the movie, making it an odd read at times.
It can provide some interesting backstory, some scenes that didn't make the final cut of the movie, and some insight into things like the reveal that Breckin Meyer's character Marco was originally meant to be the "Latino boyfriend" type.
There's alsoa fun mini-biography of the band by Jackie Jarosz. Typically you can get this book for a few bucks on eBay or Amazon, so if you have even a passing interest, it's worth picking up.prevnext
The scene on DuJour's plane was largely improvised
The scene between the DuJour boys on the plane was largely improvised, with the comedians only given some basic marks to hit and allowed to run wild. It seemed to work out, and was shot very early in the production...
...except a single reaction shot from Alan Cumming, which the directors said was filmed "about a week before the release of the movie" in Vancouver.
Luckily, that plane was not a real plane but a set, so they could go back to it without major issue.prevnext
The band learned their instruments
While Josie's voice was provided by Hanley, the actresses did provide backing vocals and even went to a week-long intensive band camp to learn to play the album's songs on their instruments.
As a result, even though the music was performed by an all-star lineup of '90s pop and alternative musicians, the girls were closely approximating the actual performance during the musical scenes.prevnext
Hiro Kanagawa, who played Lt. Suzuki in iZombie's first season, is one of the operatives shown the Eugene Levy video in the secret lair beneath Megarecords HQ.
The video itself was apparently shot on the set of American Pie 2, so some of Levy's wardrobe likely looks familiar if you're a fan of those movies.prevnext
The Billboard Chart" scenes were not done digitally
The Billboard chart was actually a practical set.
Rather than doing a green screen or blue screen effect, as most fans likely assumed the scene was, they actually had a blank Billboard chart, which the girls would climb, dance, and interact on.
The lettering was digitally painted-in later, though.prevnext
Carson Daly was added into the movie after they cast his then-fiancee, Tara Reid
Carson Daly was added into the film before the final draft of the script, but after Tara Reid had been cast as Melody.
In the original script, the girls were going to go to SOME talk show, but it wasn't necessarily going to be Total Request Live until they knew that they had an "in" with the popular host via Reid, who was engaged to Daly at the time.prevnext
There are deleted scenes and deleted songs
In the commentary track on the DVD, Elfont and Kaplan revealed that the big confrontation between Josie and the Pussycats was the scene they used to audition actresses for the role of Val -- and that they had seen it so many times as a result, that Kaplan had a hard time watching even the final version in the film.
They noted that two other scenes -- Alan M's audition scene, and the first night the girls spent together at their New York hotel -- were also cut from the script before they were ever filmed.0comments
At the same time, during a recent Billboard interview, Elfont said that he believed Universal had provided Mondo with previously-unreleased songs for the upcoming reissue of the soundtrack, but that Mondo had not used any of them.
...So, maybe for the 20th anniversary?prev