Mia Bays, Producer
Q: In one word, what is this movie about?
Q: Who is this movie for?
The fans of BSB obviously, but we always wanted to tell a universal story: people interested in the power of nostalgia, in the hero’s journey, and for people who want to be moved by watching people grow up onscreen.
Q: How did you get involved in the project?
Pulse, the production company, called me in to discuss several upcoming film projects for which they needed a creative producer. They said the immortal words: "Backstreet Boys want to make Some Kind of Monster (the classic Metallic documentary)". And I said: "I’m in. When do I start?"
Q: Were you a fan of the band?
No, but I was immediately drawn by the story and the iconic nature of the band and their journey.
Q: Without the luxury of time, how did you gain the trust of the band?
I met them as equals, I felt that was important. I talked about film and showed them films, and ensured they understood I was competent in my field of expertise. Above all, I listened and asked a lot of questions, and developed ideas with them rather than imposing ideas onto them.
Q: Which of the band members found opening up more difficult? How did you deal with this?
Actually the band have grown up being filmed, photographed and interviewed so this comes naturally. But there is to a degree an on-screen persona that they’re not necessarily aware of so sometimes they think they’re being open and frank, and they’re not. So it becomes your job to guide them, get them to recognise this, and create conditions that enable them to move past it into a more ‘real’ space.
Q: Were you surprised by anything you learned?
How down to earth and grounded they all are, given the extraordinary life they have lived. I found that very refreshing. Film doesn’t really lie. What you see onscreen - a group of approachable and open and talented men – is what you get in the room too. They’re refreshingly normal and I mean as a great compliment as I think that’s a real achievement given what they’ve gone through.
Q: What part of the journey is the most memorable to you?
The hometown trip was very moving and memorable. It was rather special to be part of what was a really nostalgic and profoundly important trip for them all.
Q: Were you impacted personally by the story, if so how?
I connected with them immediately and continued throughout the process. I also started working young and I have experienced some major highs and lows in my career so I was surprised how much I related to them. Especially given that I was really not a fan at first. But I’ve become one. I think they’re really talented and fantastic performers.
Q: What was your favourite part of the whole process?
I think finishing the edit after a year of really intense work and knowing at a test screening we did, that we’d finally nailed it. That the film really did move people and told a real story. I continue to experience that as we screen it. It really touches fans and non-fans, and that was our ambition.
Q: What was your greatest strength that contributed to the way things turned out?
I think getting to know the band quickly and respectfully earning their trust, which I definitely worked hard at. That’s the good thing about experience it teaches you very valuable lessons, and trust in documentary filmmaking is vital. Without it you have and are nothing.
Q: What strengths in others made a difference and how?
I think we had a great team – in front of and behind the camera. It was a small crew and we were all super focused. Everyone did their best and I think the band inspired us to do so. We all felt such responsibility to do right by them and their story. That continued all the way through the process.
Q: What was the most difficult moment and why?
We really hoped we were going to get into the jail to take the band with us and interview Lou Pearlman. And when we got a final ‘no, and don’t ask again’ it was really galling. We had pinned a lot onto this as the spine of the story. But we worked around it and in the end it worked out. We set a rule that you only ever hear from the band – no-one else – and that really does pay off, and we found other ways to illustrate the Lou story which were serendipitous.