How ‘Red Rocket’ got * NSYNC’s ‘Bye Bye Bye’ for indie film

Sean Baker’s “Red Rocket” uses * NSYNC’s 2000 pop song “Bye Bye Bye” throughout the film in various forms, but it was not easy for the director of “The Florida Project” to obtain the usage rights to the song while he searched for the perfect breakup song.

At one point, Strawberry (Suzanna Son) is playing a light version on her keyboard. He tells his story as a young woman who rejoices in the attention she receives from Mikey (Simon Rex), who encourages her to pursue a career in adult films, and she passes from a boyfriend to her age to Mikey, who is double her. age.

The idea to use the song came when Baker learned that Son was a musician. Baker and music supervisor Matthew Hearon-Smith went through each breakup song to find something that would contextually suit the storyline and its arc. “I started to read the lyrics and felt so good,” says Baker.

Then Hearon-Smith (“The Florida Project”) had to secure the song, which meant letting the five members of * NSYNC, Chris Kirkpatrick, Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Joey Fatone and Lance Bass, read the script on an elder. porn star who returns to her home in Galveston, TX and catches the eye of a 17-year-old donut shop worker.

“We had to go through the process of all members [of *NSYNC] by signing it, ”says Baker. “It meant they had to see the script and see the last scene of the movie.”

Although Baker did not disclose the cost of the song, he said it was not part of their original budget for the film.

Elsewhere, the film pays homage to Italian eroticism through its cinematography. Cinematographer Drew Daniels came highly recommended to Baker by “Waves” filmmaker Trey Edward Shults. Daniels was a good choice, as he is from Texas, the setting for “Red Rocket”.

Baker found the “sex shots” between Son and Rex easier to shoot because they were so detailed in the dance and he had specific ideas in mind. Baker directed Daniels to Italian 1970s genre films so that he could pay homage to the craftsmanship and style of films by Fernando Di Leo (“The Italian Connection”) and Umberto Lenzi (“Spasmo”). “I watched them because of the way they approached sexploitation films and eroticism in the cinema,” says Baker. “I wanted Drew to watch the instant zooms, some framing, and cart movements.”

Daniels cites Steven Spielberg’s “The Sugarland Express” as a visual inspiration for the stage lens. “I especially liked the way they filmed the driving,” he says. “It was anamorphic and had the colors that are representative of Texas – the colors I knew we would get when filming sunsets against refineries: that crazy mix of greens and oranges from the pipes with the natural beauty of the sunsets. of Sun.”

Daniels’ camera follows Mikey as he cruises around Galveston on his beach cruising bike. Baker says, “We wanted to show off this winding way of life, but we wanted to take the environment into account. We could use it as a tour guide through town.

Baker was also the editor of the film. “The editing was a balance in terms of tone – I was dealing with this objectionable character that I humorously deliver to the audience, and that made it tricky.” He didn’t want to portray Mikey as a big bad wolf, or step into inappropriate territory. “We found this in the editing room,” says Baker. “I still consider my editing to be 30% of my directing, because it’s really cemented there. “

Listen to Son’s version of “Bye Bye Bye” below.