'Chorus Line' docu from Stern, Del Deo


CANNES -- James D. Stern and Adam Del Deo are bringing a documentary about the iconic Broadway musical "A Chorus Line" to the big screen.

The pair, whose previous documentaries include "The Year of the Yao" for Fine Line Features/New Line International and "So Goes the Nation" for IFC Films/the Weinstein Co., will direct and produce "Every Little Step: The Journey of a Chorus Line." Stern's Endgame Entertainment will produce and finance the film, which chronicles the making of the current Broadway revival of the megahit musical.

The $2 million-range documentary will include footage of the show's late creator, Michael Bennett, along with new interviews with the composer, Marvin Hamlisch, co-choreographer Bob Avian, onetime New York Times theater critic Frank Rich and the original 1975 production's breakout star, Donna McKechnie.

William Morris Independent is handling worldwide rights at the Festival de Cannes.

Production of "Every Little Step" began in summer 2005 and captured the auditions of 1,700 actors-singers-dancers. The film is now in post-production. Del Deo, who says the film will be cut down from more than 400 hours of footage, expects it to be completed in time for the Toronto International Film Festival (where his two earlier docus have debuted) or the Sundance Film Festival.

Footage continued through the play's Broadway premiere and into its current Tony-nominated run. The film will cull behind-the-scenes footage of the audition, rehearsals and performances of the 1975 original and the 2006 revival, revealing how life imitates art as performers from both productions undergo intense experiences similar to the roles in the play itself.

"Every Little Step" highlights the similarities and differences between the two shows separated by a generation, the enduring popularity of "A Chorus Line" and the creative minds behind one of the longest-running musicals in Broadway history.

"A Chorus Line" was built in an organic way in the early '70s, where artists would sit around in a semicircle at midnight," said Stern. "There's now a whole new way of doing business on Broadway. Our film is also about the way entrepreneurs have been replaced by corporations in America."

"A Chorus Line," which has been staged in more than 40 countries, also spawned a feature film incarnation in 1985 that was helmed by Richard Attenborough.

"The story behind this new production and the 1975 original is as compelling as the show itself," said Stern, who has produced 15 Broadway and off-Broadway shows, including "The Producers," "Hairspray," "Stomp" and "Legally Blonde."

Endgame's upcoming credits include "The Brothers Bloom," starring Rachel Weisz, Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo and Rinko Kikuchi, and the Todd Haynes-helmed Bob Dylan biopic "I'm Not There." The company has co-financed more than 25 films, including "Hotel Rwanda," "White Noise" and "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle."