Get Over It : Production Notes

A Miramax Films release, GET OVER IT is directed by Tommy O'Haver, who made his directorial debut with the critically acclaimed Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss (1998). Paul Feldsher, Marc Butan and Michael Burns produce, Louise Rosner serves as co-producer. The screenplay is written by R. Lee Fleming Jr. Robin Standefer is the production designer, Maryse Alberti serves as the cinematographer, Mary Jane Fort is the costume designer and Jeff Betancourt is the editor.

GET OVER IT stars the Golden Globe-nominated Kirsten Dunst (Virgin Suicides, the (1999), Bring It On (2000), Interview with the Vampire (1994)); Ben Foster (Liberty Heights (2000), "I've Been Waiting for You," and TV's "Family Law," "Freaks and Geeks"); Melissa Sagemiller (Soul Survivors (2001), Black and White (1999)); Colin Hanks ( TV's "Roswell," the upcoming Orange County (2001)); Sisqo - in his feature film debut, whose "Thong Song" from his solo release "Unleash The Dragon" is a chart-topper; Shane West (ABC's "Now and Again"); Zoe Saldana (Center Stage (2000)) and Australian supermodel Kylie Bax (Miramax's Boys and Girls (2000)). Coolio, Carmen Electra (Scary Movie (2000)) and Vitamin C make cameo appearances. Veteran actors Martin Short ("Three Amigos," "The Big Picture"), swoosie Kurtz (Liar Liar (1997) HBO's "And the Band Played On") and Ed Begley Jr. (Batman Forever (1995), TV's "St. Elsewhere") round out the ensemble cast.

It was ten years ago when screenwriter R. Lee Fleming Jr. , still in college, had the idea for GET OVER IT, a comic exploration of first love. Fleming moved to Los Angeles four years later, where his script for GET OVER IT suitably impressed Tapestry Films. They then hired him to write She's All That (1999)," his first produced screenplay, which starred Freddie Prinze Jr. and Rachael Leigh Cook, and was distributed by Miramax Films.

When She's All That (1999) became a box office success, Fleming's earlier script for GET OVER IT attracted increasing attention. Michael Burns and Marc Butan at Ignite Films had already optioned the story when Miramax expressed interest in acquiring the project. Fleming's script then undertook an exciting new development when Miramax came on board. "We had a big meeting at Miramax when (Co-Chairman) Harvey Weinstein came up with the idea of incorporating Shakespeare into the script," recalls Fleming.

After researching Shakespeare's works, Fleming found that A Midsummer Night's Dream, with its themes of young, unrequited love, was an ideal match for his original story.

Not long after, Miramax's Harvey Weinstein saw a film by young director Tommy O'Haver, Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss (1998) at the Sundance Film Festival; O'Haver, Weinstein was convinced, was the right person to direct GET OVER IT.

Even though they found their work styles to be very different, screenwriter Fleming and O'Haver found they worked together well. "Tommy is my age and we can relate to each other as peers," says Fleming. "We came to the project from completely different angles, and we have different senses of humor. Something really good came out of those differences. "

Until he read the script, O'Haver had been wary of doing a teen movie. "The thing that attracted me was the play. That really set it apart from other teen films."

"I particularly liked the fact that the production was 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' because that was the first Shakespearean play I saw as a kid," recalls O'Haver. "I was so amazed that a play written so many years ago could actually entertain me, a fifth grader in Indiana. I'd always wanted to do that play as a film. So then the script came with all these elements it seemed to scream out to me, 'Hey this is your fate. You've got to do this film.'"

With O'Haver on board, producer Paul Feldsher and co-producer Louise Rosner were brought in to oversee the production and assemble the rest of the creative team. Award-winning cinematographer, Maryse Alberti, who had photographed such films as Velvet Goldmine (1998), Happiness (1998) and "Paris is Burning" was hired, along with production designer Robin Standefer who recently worked on Kasi Lemmons' caveman's Valentine (2001) Mary Jane Fort was brought in to create the costumes, and Jeff Betancourt came in to edit the film.

The filmmakers were able to cast the film with some of Hollywood's most exciting young talent, both from film and television, as well as with some of film's more established actors. For the central role of Berke Landers, a guy who can't get over losing his girlfriend, O'Haver chose newcomer Ben Foster, who had received raves for his role in Barry Levinson's Liberty Heights (2000).

"We saw Ben in Liberty Heights (2000) and he was amazing," says director Tommy O'Haver. "He just had this great comic timing and I immediately saw him playing the part of Berke. We were really lucky to get him. "

For the actor, the script for GET OVER IT was a departure from most youth-oriented comedies. "It wasn't like normal teen scripts," Foster explains. "It has this really light, happy, idealistic surface and underneath there's a dark thread which attracted me to the film. " After Berke's heart has been broken, his once-ideal world goes awry. "I like the idea of the sane, happy, all-American boy going slightly bonkers," says Foster.

Intent on winning back his lost love, Berke goes so far as to take a role in the school play because she and her dramatically inclined new boyfriend are the leads. "Berke follows in a desperate attempt to show that he has eclectic taste, and he's not just your average guy," Foster explains. "It's a sad attempt, but nevertheless, he commits, puts on those tights, and tries to recite Shakespeare, and sing and dance. "

To portray Kelly, a friend who helps Berke with his role in the school play, the filmmakers cast Kirsten Dunst, who starred in virgin suicides, The (1999) and Bring It On (2000) among other films. The younger sister of one of Berke's best friends, Kelly harbors a secret crush on Berke, while he thinks of her merely as his pal's kid sister.

Having recently graduated from high school and still a teenager herself, Dunst was familiar with the fears and doubts that come with the territory. "One of the reasons that I was interested in playing the part of Kelly was that I could relate to Kelly's situation: falling for the guy who's your friend who wants his ex-girlfriend back, and you're supporting him but your heart is breaking. I've been there and done that, so I could relate to Kelly and what she was going through."

Dunst was immediately drawn to the idea of doing a romantic comedy. "Romantic comedies are something that everyone loves to see," she says. "I think this one definitely reaches out to an audience that doesn't usually have many romantic comedies geared to them."

"Kirsten was attracted to the role of Kelly because she got to sing," adds director O'Haver. "Kirsten is a girl who knows how to have fun while's she working and that is important when working on a comedy. "

"When I read the script I was thrilled to learn that the character got to sing. It was what made me want to do the part. I love singing to the radio and it is always fun to get to try new things for different films" explains Dunst.

Foster was impressed by his co-star Kirsten Dunst." Kirsten's one of the few young actresses around today who just commits to what she does," he tells it. "She's a pro. It's not hard falling in love with Kirsten."

Hip hop artist Sisqo, who burst into the public consciousness when his hit "Thong Song" quickly climbed the charts, was approached next for the role of Dennis, one of Berke's best friends. "Get Over It" is his feature film debut and he now is going into production on the film WinterDance (2002) co-starring Cuba Gooding JR. Sisqo had just finished performing on "Saturday Night Live" when O'Haver met with him for the part of Dennis.

While the musician had been inundated with scripts since appearing with Will Smith in the music video for the feature film, Wild Wild West (1999), Sisqo took the challenge of an acting role seriously. "I know that it's a delicate process being a recording artist going into the acting field, so I started to study different types of actors, from Jim Carrey to Jamie Foxx, trying to figure out the best way to approach it," he says. "This film is great for me because I'm not the star and I get to kiss somebody in the movie. "

O'Haver predicts that Sisqo is destined for a great career in the movies. "I think he could definitely be the next 'Fresh Prince,'" says the director. "He's funny. "

For Sisqo, the role of Dennis was not that far removed from his own personality. "Dennis is closer to the person that I really am; I'm a little shy sometimes," Sisq tells it. "Dennis may not be as cool, or as good with the ladies as Sisqo is, but Sisqo can't play basketball, and Dennis is pretty good at that. He appears to be a good friend, and a pretty good dancer. "

Sisqo credits Ben Foster and Colin Hanks, who was cast to play Felix, Berke's friend and Kelly's brother, with making him comfortable on his first movie set. "When I stepped on the set Colin and Ben took me under their wing," says Sisqo. "They gave me a feeling that there's no need to be afraid, we're going to coach you through, we want you to look good, just relax. Whenever I'm looking like an artist playing actor, I can always look forward to Ben and Colin, shaking me up to make sure that I'm playing Dennis instead of Sisqo on screen."

Colin Hanks, who stars in WB's popular series "Roswell" and will soon star with his father Tom Hanks in the comedy Orange County (2001), found the character of Felix gave him the chance to reveal another aspect of his considerable talent. "Felix is a nice change from everything else that I've been doing," says the actor. "For me it was the chance to be able to be the wild guy. And I don't really think Felix is all that popular, but he thinks he is."

While Felix goes all out to help his friend Berke get over his heart-break by throwing parties and introducing Berke to new girls, he is less than successful. "In a lot of cases, he makes Berke's life a lot worse," says Hanks.

Felix also has a difficult time relating to his sister Kelly. "They're both very close in age, so of course they do not get along," continues the actor. "Ultimately Felix is really trying to protect Kelly. He thinks that he is doing a good thing, but he's just being a pain in Kelly's side and makes her life a little bit more difficult. "

Newcomer Melissa Sagemiller was cast as Allison, the girl of Berke's dreams. "Allison is different from the usual type that plays the heartbreaker in the movies. She's a really nice girl," explains Sagemiller, who appeared in James Toback's Black and White (1999). "She wants to live her life, but she's confused, she's young, and she doesn't really know what she wants. She and Berke grew up together as kids, and she just sort of wants to move on and try to hurt him as little as possible. "

Sagemiller's Allison is so enamoured of her new beau Striker that she doesn't realize what valiant efforts Berke is making to win her affection; he's a basketball player completely out of his element in the school play. "He can't sing, he can't dance, he can't dance," Sagemiller tells it. "He just falls on his face for this girl again and again -- heartbreakingly so. "

Co-star Ben Foster sees a great future for Melissa Sagemiller. "Melissa is going to be huge. She's a movie star," says Foster. "She's an amazing actress also. Another beautiful and intelligent talent. "

Shane West, who stars in the popular television series "Once and Again," was cast as Striker, the guy with whom Allison has hooked up and who enjoys the torment that his relationship with Allison causes Berke. "I think he's just a guy who's always trying to fit in," says West of his character. "I think that he knows he can get the ladies and he likes that about himself, but he doesn't really care too much for guy friends. Ultimately, he's not that great of a guy, and just to be able to play somebody who's over-the-top like that, who's just gross, is a lot of fun. "

"Allison's trying to become a woman before she's really ready to become one," explains Sagemiller. "And that's what draws her to Striker who's this seemingly sophisticated exchange student who's traveled around the world, or so he says. "

Mila Kunis who currently stars on the hit "70's Show" was cast in the role of Basin, Kelly's best friend. Kunis describes Basin as someone with "no filter in her mouth. She says everything that she thinks, and she thinks she's the best at everything. And it kind of ends up backfiring on her. "

Basin and Kelly's friendship mirrors the one that developed off-screen. "The second Kirsten and I met we had amazing chemistry," Kunis tells it. "And we're always giggling, smiling, jumpin' around, and goofin' around, on and off the set. The way that the friendship is portrayed in the script is that I'm the obnoxious one, and she's the calm one. We're so opposite yet we're the best of friends. "

Rounding out the young cast is Zoe Saldana who first attracted attention in her debut role as a dancer in the feature film, [Center Stage (2000). She was chosen for the role of Allison's best friend, Maggie. "Maggie's the type of girl that always acts older and cooler than anyone else in high school," says Saldana. "I think that quality draws Allison to her. Maggie seems mature, and she seems very experienced, and so Allison, with her own insecurities, looks to Maggie to really count on when she's not really sure if she's doing the right thing. Maggie's the tough one, the one that Allison looks up to. "

Comic actor Martin Short, veteran of "SCTV" and "Saturday Night Live," was cast as the fastidious drama teacher, Dr. Desmond Forrest-Oates, who, with his own limited talent, has transformed a Shakespearian classic into "A Midsummer Night's Rockin' Eve. " Martin Short makes Dr. Desmond Forrest-Oates one of his most memorable characters.

"I thought it was funny," says Short about his role in GET OVER IT. "I liked the idea of a teacher who competes with his students to be young and hip, but doesn't achieve it. "

"I see him as a failed everything," says Short of the drama teacher. "He really believes that if he can make this school production work, he can end up back Off-Broadway where he had hoped he'd be. "

Fellow industry veterans Swoosie Kurtz and Ed Begley Jr. were cast as Berke's parents, Frank and Beverly. "Although Swoosie and Ed only worked for a few days, their roles are so funny that their performances stand out," comments co-producer Louise Rosner.

Kurtz and Begley previously worked together on the play "Love Letters"; their familiarity with each other made it easy for them to improvise their hilarious characterizations of Frank and Beverly Landers, hosts of Love Matters, a television sex talk show.

Even the Landers' own son feels that his parents, who pride themselves on their open-mindedness, are too trusting and permissive. "Beverly is so liberal that she steps over the line into something her son really doesn't want to talk about with her," says Swoosie Kurtz. "She puts a positive spin on everything. He gets arrested at one point in the movie, and we pick him up from the police station and say, 'we are so incredibly proud of you for getting on with your life. '"

Supermodel Kylie Bax is featured as Dora Lynn Tisdale, the beautiful, yet accident-prone girl that Felix tries to set up with Berke before falling for her considerable charms himself. Others appearing in cameo roles are rap star Coolio, who portrays himself as a guest on the "Love Matters" show, and Carmen Electra, who does a sexy comic turn as Mistress Moira, who introduces Berke to the joys of submission and bondage - part of his friends' plan to help him get over Allison.

The cast is unanimous in their praise of O'Haver's take on the material and his direction. "Tommy's taking the genre in a totally different direction," says Kirsten Dunst. "He's really hilarious. "

"Tommy loves to keep a very loose happy set," says Martin Short. "I think that' s important when you're doing comedy to reduce the angst. And he seems to be having a ball doing this. "

O'Haver himself learnt a lot from his talented cast. " I did a lot of improvisation on my first film, but with less experienced actors," says the director. "It's great having people who really knew how to come up with things and really keep it tight and keep it on point. "

About The Production

Though it stars young actors, GET OVER IT is a film that appeals to people of any age. "Younger kids are going to love it because they'll relate to the characters," says director Tommy O'Haver. "And adults are going to love it because it has a level of sophistication that most teen films are lacking. "

Right from the start, music is an important element throughout the film. When Berke is dumped by Allison, the story takes a unexpected turn: a forlorn Berke is followed down the street by a garage-band-esque collection of people, led by Vitamin C, singing "Love Will Keep Us Together," the classic Captain and Tennille song from the 70's. Top recording star Vitamin C was brought in to perform in that sequence, while she also recorded an updated version of another hit from the '70s, Earth, Wind & Fire's "September" in a duet with Sisqo for the end credit sequence.

One of the elements that also sets GET OVER IT apart is the play within the film. "A Midsummer Night's Rockin' Eve," Dr. Forrest-Oates' take on Shakespeare's classic story of misdirected love, gives the film another layer of sophistication, as well as an appealing comic edge.

The play places the story of Allison, Berke and Kelly in a larger context. "What's happening to characters in the play is what happens to us off-stage," explains actress Kirsten Dunst. "It all connects. "

While Martin Short's Dr. Forrest-Oates feels that his interpretation of Shakespeare is a work of genius, the music is in fact quite comical. Appropriately, Marc Shaiman, who wrote the music for "South Park," penned seven songs for the film.

"Everything is definitely over-the-top," says Shane West about the music in "A Midsummer Night's Rockin' Eve. " Shane West was classically trained as a boy and now sings as part of a punk band. "There are songs that sound like they're from 'The Sound of Music,' and then something that sounds like a Cher techno song," he says about the music in GET OVER IT. "Love Scud," the song that Shane West's Striker performs as part of a boy band in which he is the lead singer, the Swingtown Lads, was written by Lindy Robbins & Del Pearson.

Not all of Marc Shaiman's songs are so comical, however. He also wrote the touching "Dream of Me," which was not in fact a Forrest-Oates original, but a song Kelly has written and which Kirsten Dunst sings in the role of Helena in the play. "Marc Shaiman wrote this gorgeous song that I get to sing at the end of the movie," says Kirsten Dunst. "Marc Shaiman is brilliant."

Dance is also another integral element in the film. Jerry Evans, who had recently worked with co-producer Louise Rosner on Boys and Girls (2000), was brought in to choreograph the project. Evans' aim was to keep it simple. "I wanted it to look like something that would be done by a high school drama teacher," he says. "Nothing too polished or slick. The dance sequence that ends the film has a different feel. It's a cross between retro, and the urban, current street type of dance. "

Production designer Robin Standefer and Cinematographer Maryse Alberti worked together to create a colorful, yet classic design for the film. "I'm going for a retro look very much based on the way that the post-war Americana and European design of the '50s, '60s and '70s has influenced the design look of the '90s and the decade of the new millennium," says Standefer. "There is an intensity to that style of design that I thought would work well for the movie. There's also a certain formality to that design that lends itself well to the theatrical element of the film. "

While the clothes are very modern, the interiors recall an earlier time; Standefer played with that contrast. "There's a certain idea that the parents are living in a slightly retro world, but those anachronisms are important," she says. "If one watches MTV or Nickelodeon today, those references to the past are rampant. While the kids are looking at it, their parents actually lived through those times. I wanted to express all of those ideas through the interiors. "

Fleming feels fortunate to have landed in Hollywood at a time when films for young people are a hot commodity. While on the surface, GET OVER IT is a film about teens; its love themes are much more universal. Though the film is not autobiographical, Fleming relates to Berke Landers' story. "Everyone remembers the first time they fell in love," the screenwriter says. "It's an experience that stays with you forever. "


The soundtrack will be released by Island Records on March 13th and will feature tracks from Shorty 101, American Hi-Fi, Mikaila, Caviar as well as Fatboy Slim and Badly Drawn Boy. The first single will be "Get With Me" from the Southern California female foursome, Shorty 101. Also featured on the soundtrack is a song performed by Kirsten Dunst from the film.