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The Making of ALL THE RAGE
After receiving widespread praise for his short film Hooking Up - a critical look at the world of one-night stands, newcomer Roland Tec has turned his observant eye to the professional gym-addicted drones known in urban gay male circles as A-listers. The widely acclaimed Hooking Up was seen at film festivals in over twenty cities worldwide, including: Los Angeles, New York, Austin, Chicago, Hamburg, Turin, and Melbourne. Within a three-month period in 1995, Hooking Up screened in Los Angeles, Washington, DC and New York City to such enthusiasm that a group of committed investors emerged. Several gay businesspeople approached Tec after these screenings wanting to be a part of a project that would speak to similar issues as the short but on a feature film scale.
"Investing in an independent feature film was the farthest thing from my mind until I saw Roland Tec's short, Hooking Up," recalls investor Bill Glazer. "I was so moved by the wit and truth of the writing and the power of Tec's vision, that I decided right then and there that whatever his next project was to be, I had to be involved."
Inspired by the enthusiasm of these audiences, Tec immediately began the adaptation of his stage play, A Better Boy which had played to sold-out houses the year before at the Boston Center for the Arts. And so ALL THE RAGE and its main character, Christopher, were born.
Christopher Bedford is everyone's fantasy. He's gorgeous, young, clever, rich, successful, and above all, totally buffed and every boy in Boston seems to want him. On paper he's it. He is Mr. Right. He's got so many guys leaving messages on his answering machine, he hardly has time to sleep with them all. Like most of us, he thinks he knows exactly what he wants in a man, someone just as perfect as himself. After all the hours he's put in at the gym, sculpting his body to perfection, why should he have to settle for anything less? But when Stewart [played by David Vincent], a somewhat shy and awkward book editor fails to immediately succumb to his charms, Christopher finds himself drawn to the warmth and natural openness of this man who spends as little time at the gym as he spends choosing his wardrobe. ALL THE RAGE revels in the social norms of today's urban gay lifestyle, never missing an opportunity to poke fun. As serious and intelligent as it is funny, it parodies the oddities of modern romance and sex, managing to wake its audience up to the disappointing yields of a life devoted to molding oneself into the fantasy ideal image of manhood.
Having written and directed theatre for years, Tec was well acquainted with a broad base of New York and Boston talent. With the help of casting director Kevin Fennessy, over three hundred potential Christophers were seen before finding New Yorker John-Michael Lander who had combined numerous Off-Broadway credits with several years in television. "I was reading the script and kept wondering," recalls Lander, "so when does the drag queen come in?, who's coming out of the closet?, who has AIDS? Instead, I found a script about professional gay men going to dinner parties, at the gym, trying to have it all and be it all -- essentially a movie about many of my friends, you know, the over-thirty urban set. And I said, 'where do I sign up?'"
"If you were to ask every gay man in any of America's fashionable ghettos -- Chelsea, West Hollywood, South Beach, my own South End -- whether or not they wanted a lasting romantic involvement with another man, I am convinced that 99% would answer: YES! But somewhere between the IDEA of love and the REALITY of confronting another flawed human being," argues Tec, "many of us get stuck. And that's the realm I wanted to explore in ALL THE RAGE."
Shortly before its Los Angeles screening, Hooking Up caught the eye of independent film guru John Pierson [Spike, Mike, Slackers & Dykes] who invited Tec to his annual Miramax-sponsored Cold Spring Film Workshop. At Cold Spring, John Pierson introduced Tec to indie-producer Catherine Burns, who, having just completed her debut feature A Pound of Flesh was scouting for new projects. Burns loved the script and with several eager investors lined up, the two began preparing to shoot the film in Boston the following summer.
"I was fortunate to have several investors committed to the project from the very beginning which made the task of attracting additional funds less daunting," acknowledges Tec. "Many people came on board in large part because of the willingness of a few prominent gay voices to support this film." "Were it not for leaders of organizations such as the Greater Boston Business Council, the Stonewall Community Foundation or the New York Advertising and Communications Network, among others, this film might never have been made," adds Burns. Burns and Tec felt that a slick, almost commercial look would be important to bring the film's message across.
After months of bicoastal searching, Burns and Tec discovered Gretchen Widmer, an AFI-trained director of photography who had spent ten years shooting commercials and music videos in Los Angeles. As Production Designer, Boston interior decorator Louis Ashman was able to bring his copious experience designing some of Boston's most spectacular homes to the film's thirty sets. The lush look was completed by Costume Designer Sarah Pfeiffer who dressed the cast in clothing by designers ranging from Armani to NEXT to Diesel Athletics.
ALL THE RAGE was shot during the summer of 1996 almost exclusively on location in Boston's South End. The neighborhood's beautiful outdoor settings, colorful restaurants, and exquisite historic homes serve as the backdrop to this cast of thirty-something, over-sexed, upwardly-mobile boys.
In the midst of production, Catherine Burns received a phone call from Miami-based Producer David Doepel, who had heard about the film during one of his trips to Los Angeles. "I had heard there was a hot young director named Tec shooting his first feature in Boston," recalls Doepel, "We had been looking for an indie feature to get involved with and after reading the script, I knew we had found the perfect match." Doepel's company, Echo Bridge Productions, would come on board as a principal investor by providing Editor Jon Altschuler and post-production facilities for the completion of the film.
"Having Echo Bridge step in was a real godsend," says Catherine Burns. "And editing in South Beach," adds Tec, "served as a daily reminder of what had inspired the script to begin with. Every morning, on my way to the editing suite, I must have passed a hundred Christopher Bedfords, and I couldn't help but wonder whether they'd recognize themselves on the big screen."
ALL THE RAGE has a running time of 100 minutes and is available in 35mm format.