From Beyoncé’s failed audition to the movie’s biggest fan, Bono!
The original pitch for the movie was out of this world.
When Josie and the Pussycats' writer/directors were initially approached about the film, the first idea they landed on took a cue from the TV show's 16-episode arc from 1972. But Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont quickly found inspiration in what was happening all around them at the time — in the early 2000s.
“We thought about what was going on with music at the time, what we wanted to say — TRL was at its height — and that kind of became 'What if all this was a conspiracy?'” Elfont told BuzzFeed News.
“We were coming out of an era with Nirvana and Pearl Jam and Sonic Youth, bands that really encouraged dissent and individuality,” Kaplan told BuzzFeed News. “It was like the music industry suddenly decided we need to course-correct and feed everybody what we want them to buy and promote corporate culture and not be like, 'Down with corporations.' It was kind of a reaction to that. We saw it happening.”
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Parker Posey struggled with her (iconic) role.
In a career of memorable performances, Parker Posey's malevolent but misunderstood Fiona may be one of her lesser-known. However, to fans of the film, Fiona is arguably one of Posey's most beloved roles. But according to Kaplan and Elfont, filming was a tough experience for the actor. “I think she had bought an apartment and was redoing the apartment … [and] she took more than one opportunity to say, 'Well, this movie is paying for my apartment,'” Kaplan recalled.
“At the time, Parker was this indie queen. She had a lot of street cred, and I think any job she took because of the money … she struggled with,” Elfont added. “I don't know that she was thinking about the satire of it all, that it was a biting commentary. I think she thought, I'm selling out by doing this kids' movie. She would waver on set. She'd be like, 'Whaaat are we doing?' And other times she'd be like, 'This is fun! It's for kids!'”
Posey's saving grace ended up being costar and friend Alan Cumming, who played Fiona's minion, Wyatt Frame. “Alan got it. Alan is game for anything. When she saw how much fun he was having, she started to play off him, and that's when she was happiest in the movie,” he said. “She is so unique and so one-of-a-kind. She was not the easiest, but it was so worth it because, again, there's nobody like her. She's always good. She's just so wonderfully Parker.”
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None of the brands featured in the film paid for placement.
Because Josie and the Pussycats is a satire about consumerism, the directors went out of their way to ensure that almost every single scene featured at least one piece of product placement. Target, Ivory soap, Coke, Diesel, Ray-Ban, Apple, Ford, Krispy Kreme, Starbucks, T.J.Maxx, Victoria's Secret, SoBe, McDonald's, Steve Madden, Puma, Bloomingdale's, Virgin Megastore, Kodak, Hostess, Motorola, Bugles, America Online, 7-Eleven, Frizz Ease, Converse, Hawaiian Tropic, Bebe, Visa, Revlon, American Express, Evian, Butterfinger, Pringles, Barneys New York, Nikon, Red Bull, Verizon, Sony, Adidas, Sega, Ford, Advil, Crest, Clearasil, and Tidy Cat are just some of the brands prominently shown throughout the film.
But despite what many of the film's critics assumed, none of those companies paid to be featured. “We didn't get money for it, and that was the big scandal, I guess, when the movie came out,” Kaplan said — although she did add that brands like Steve Madden and Puma supplied the filmmakers with articles of clothing to outfit the cast. “A lot of the reviews called us hypocrites: 'They're taking money from these corporations to put them in the movie and they're doing exactly what they say people shouldn't do.'”
While they weren't lacking for brands, not all of them were on board with their products being satirized. “We were dying to do a Gap ad for the movie that was 'Everybody in Leopard,'” Elfont said, referencing the brand's memorably homogenized Everybody in Khakis, Everybody in Leather, and Everybody in Vests campaigns from the late '90s. “But then the Gap read the script and were like, 'Hell no!' There were certain companies that didn't want to play because they realized what we were doing, and others, like Target, were like, 'Who cares? We're so much bigger than that.'”