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The moment John Stalhberg, Jr, director and co-writer of the dramedy film ‘High School’, finished his script for the movie, he sent it off to his producing partner, Stephen Susco, who was in Mexico at the time. Susco sat at the bar with his laptop and a pitcher of margarita and reworked the script, then punted it back to Stalhberg and Stalhberg reworked Susco’s pass of the script. They repeated this a few times until the script felt right. Two weeks later, they had a finished script that their agents sent around town.
They heard that Warren Zide liked their script, so we they with him to discuss the project. A couple of months later they were in production an hour north of Detroit on an abandoned, seventy-five million dollar, state-of-the-art high school campus.
Stalhberg and his team turned that abandoned school into their own, fully functioning movie studio. Stalhberg rewrote scenes while they were shooting to take advantage of the entire space…it truly was an amazing building to capture on film.
Before the cameras started rolling, he took a moment and looked around at his camera crew, helmed by Mitchell Amundsen, and some of the faces of his cast—Adrien Brody, Michael Chiklis, Colin Hanks, and the others. Stalhberg realized just how lucky he was to be surrounded by all this talent and there was no way he was going to waste this opportunity.
He knew that the only thing that could prevent them from making something special with this movie was the insecurity to admit to each other that, as a team, they were going to try to make something great and if they didn’t, they wouldn’t be embarrassed to admit to one another that they’d gone for it.
Once Stalhberg put it all out on the table, everyone jumped on board and they rolled the cameras and tried to make the best movie they could together. The honest effort seemed to bring out the best in everyone and he was very happy from beginning to end.
Image Courtesy of HIGH school