Lakeshore Records recently spoke with Darren Stein, director of the teen comedy, G.B.F. (watch it on Netflix), and film classic, Jawbreaker. We caught up with the Los Angeles-based director and writer who is currently writing the libretto for the musical stage production of Jawbreaker: The Musical, expected to premiere in 2015, and Lifetime’s adaptation to the cult teen novel anthology, Flowers In The Attic: Seeds of Yesterday.
What is this seeming fascination you have with proms?
With Jawbreaker, it was really an homage to Carrie and the idea of a public meltdown in a big event; that, being a prom. For G.B.F. — I didn’t write it — it just happened to be the third act of G.B.F. High School is sort of like a heightened event in life, like prom. For me, there was a homecoming dance; I remember I went to a summer program in junior year in high school. I met a girl there from Florida, and I asked her to my Homecoming. She was my friend. My mom did her makeup.
What was high school like for you?
I went to an all-boys private school. It was very academic and I was in my bedroom studying all the time. It was really through movies where I saw where all the fun was happening. It was in my neighborhood, where I was making movies with all the neighborhood kids, when I really came alive.
How much of an influence did you have on the music?
Every musical selection on the soundtrack I either chose or approved. Growing up in the ’80s, the soundtrack was part of the teen movie experience. You’re exposed to fashion, jargon and slang, and music — a big part of the world. I wanted the soundtrack to feel immersive of the era of each film. The music should be thematically relevant as well. It’s a really fun soundtrack. I stumbled across the “Gay Best Friend” song: it’s kind of infectious. As I worked on the film, I gradually became aware that the song needed to be included.
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Did you put your high school self into any of these movies?
Tanner and Brent (in G.B.F.) were into comic books and under the radar. I’m sort of more like Brent. I wouldn’t say I’m like Woody Allen who is the director and the main character.
Who are you listening to now?
I’m really into Kate Bush, Deap Vally — two girls from L.A. — they’re sort of like White Stripes’ hard sound, Haim, Peaches, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, and the new Kylie Minogue album, Band of Skulls, Arcade Fire, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas soundtrack… just lots of stuff.
Do you have a writing or directing ritual?
Music is always playing in my car. I usually work out in the morning and then btween 1 to 7 p.m., I write. I try to get in a good four to five hours of writing. I like to leave the house. There are so many amazing coffeehouses in L.A.
Was it always filmmaking for you, or did you want to do something else?
My family was in the post-production business. I’ve always been around film. I bonded with my dad over watching films. Having a father in post-production made it an accessible career; it seemed attainable as a goal. Of course, my mom suggested I be an attorney or doctor. Being a filmmaker, it is a struggle. But when you have the calling… you really have one life. You should just go for it.
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