I turned them down a few times because I was ‘too cool for the Backstreet Boys’ at the time.
In February 2015, Director Stephen Kijak spoke to Impact (University of Nottingham student magazine) about his reasoning behind saying 'yes' to directing the film, along with the reaction it has received:
So what was it that really made you say yes (to directing the film)?
Well like I said, in part the creative team was assembled. I knew we could do something great almost no matter what we were dealing with. Mia had really opened the door, they had already been shooting about a week before they had a director come aboard, they were really just exploring and seeing if there was anything there and so it was a combination of seeing what she had started and talking with them on the phone. It really changed my perception of what this project could be.
It started off looking great. They were in a very vulnerable and slightly questioning place in their lives and careers. They were just getting Kevin back in the group; they were financing the album out of their own pockets. It was really like picking up root in a real underdog space and with a lot of question marks ahead of them. Whether they could pull off an album and a tour, if the fanbase was still there, if there was anyone who would engage with them again. And their willingness to do something that was just telling a real story, rather than just promoting a tour, a 3D propaganda piece. The ingredients were there you know… and I liked them, I actually started to like them despite myself. So yeah it was great and I’m proud of what we did.
Have you been happy with the reaction the film has gotten so far?
Well yeah we showed it to fans and they scream and cry. It’s perfect. Who screams and cries at movies? I mean I’ve never experienced a reaction like that before. And critically we knew that an old white guy at the New York Times is gonna hate it. So, surprise surprise, we get a shit review from the New York Times. And the Hollywood Reporter. It’s like ‘this is not for you! Get with it’.
For the most part one of the most interesting things I experienced was when we released it online the trailer got more press than any film I’ve made. I was like ‘what the fuck, it’s just a trailer for god’s sake’. I think the reaction from the more… the snarky zones of the press were saying things like ‘wow this doesn’t look like it sucks, actually’ which was, I think, kinda gratifying. There’s been some really great think-pieces about it in the Voice and the LA Times… there’s definitely been a split if you’re gonna come at it as a hardcore film critic.
The biggest difficulty you’ll have is getting over the band itself and they told us that from the get go. They said they’ve struggled with that their whole career. People just want to hate them. And don’t want to give them the benefit of the doubt. And the critical confusion around them is kind of hard to overcome. But like I said it’s been fans first and if that’s the only way we’re judging this thing then we’ve knocked it out completely. They’ve been loving it.Read the full Impact article here