13 'Bring It On' Things You Probably Didn't Know For The Film's 15th Anniversary
If you were to say the phrase, "Bring it on" 15 years ago someone would have thought you were ready to start a fight. Nowadays, the phrase evokes pom poms, pleated skirts, and backflips. Bring It On , the 2000 cheerleader romp has since come to define the teen comedy genre. Like most films of its ilk, Bring It On had one star and a handful of unknowns (Eliza Dushku, Gabrielle Union). If Clueless has taught the film industry anything, it's that a big name doesn't make the film, it's the spirit — and boy oh boy, did Bring It On have lots of spirit, and this month it's celebrating its 15th anniversary.
Like American Pie had the infamous band camp anecdote, She's All That had the walk down the stairs, and Varsity Blues had the whipped cream bikini, Bring It On had spirit fingers. If you twinkle your phalanges in front of any millennial, they'll respond with a forthright, "Those aren't spirit fingers, these are spirit fingers!" Even if it's been 15 years since many of us have seen Bring It On, the "Brr! It's cold in here!" cheer is probably singed into our memories and can be chanted without a moment's hesitation. Bring It On was just that big of a moment in pop culture history.
But enough about what we all already know and love about the Toros and the Clovers, let's take a look at what you probably didn't know about Bring It On:
1. Bring It On Was The Big Screen Directorial Debut Of Peyton Reed
This is the same guy that directed the big summer blockbuster Ant-Man. Reed thinks the two films actually have plenty in common. In an interview with Refinery29 Reed shared, “Strangely, I think there are a lot of similarities between something like Bring It On and Ant-Man... They are both very kinetic movies where the camera is constantly moving. And just the physicality and choreography involved, whether it’s a cheerleading routine or fight choreography. I think that really weirdly helped prepare me for Ant-Man.”
2. Reed Also Totally Belonged On The Staff Of Camp Firewood
According to the director, his role in making the movie was in line with being a "summer camp counselor."
3. Kirsten Dunst Was Torrance Shipman
In a recent interview with Gotham Magazine, Dunst was asked which role she most identified with and it was hands down Bring It On's Torrance. According to the actress, "When I was 16 and did Bring It On. I was that girl. It was like me being in high school as myself. It wasn’t a stretch at all. I was a cheerleader, my best friend was a cheerleader. I wasn’t in competitions, but I watched them on TV."
4. Kirsten Dunst Became A Cheerleader In School To Be Popular
In a 2000 interview with The Guardian, Dunst talked about her real life cheerleading days: "I actually did it in eighth grade for a little bit, to fit in more. I just wanted to be more popular. Being an actress doesn't make you popular in school."
5. The Executive Producers Didn't Know Cheerleading Was A Sport... At First
During the early pitch process screenwriter Jessica Bendinger showed the executive producers highschool cheerleading competition tapes. Producer Caitlin Scanlon commented: "Who knew? Who knew it was a sport and this athletic? We went crazy. We thought that this had the potential for this great, classic sports movie structure, but it had something completely new and different that we hadn’t seen before."
6. The Working Title Was Cheer Fever
It's hard to imagine Bring It On by any other name... and in my opinion it's a much, much better one than the original Cheer Fever .
7. There Was A Side Of The Film We Never Saw
There's a shot in the original trailer that shows a steamy kiss which never actually appears in the movie. Unfortunately the backstory of the Clovers didn't make it into much of the final cut.
8. Gabrielle Union Kept Her Cheerleading Uniform
According to MTV, Union recently found her Clovers uniform tucked away in her closet. I smell a Halloween costume!
9. The Cast Was Required To Undergo A Cheerleading Bootcamp
Before filming, the whole cast attended an exhausting cheerleading bootcamp in San Diego to prepare for the film. Thankfully Sparky Polastri was not their instructor.
10. The Finger Sniffing Scene Almost Earned The Movie An R Rating
In MTV's oral history Producer Tom Bliss commented, "That was the most controversial shot of the movie It had to be trimmed, actually, to make sure we got the right rating." The editors actually had to figure out frame by frame how high the finger could go towards his nose before an R would get slapped on the film.
11. Bring It On Was Self-Aware Satire
Bendinger discussed her struggle to keep satire in the film with The Huffington Post: "There was talk of cutting the opening number, and I just threw myself on the sword... I was like, 'If you cut this cheer, then it’s just a dumb movie! Who cares?' You need to let everybody know your tongue is in your cheek. There needs to be self-awareness."
12. Union Also Worked With Filmmakers To Drive Home The Issues About Race
Bring It On wasn't just about popular girls fighting over a trophy. There was a core struggle over race, class, and appropriation. Union worked closely with the director and screenwriter to really flesh out those ideas. Reed shared with The Huffington Post, "I wanted to make sure the movie’s attitude was forward-thinking, that there was a certain honesty there... It was important to really get that character right. I really do credit Gabrielle Union with that. We worked very closely together [to make] that character grounded and realistic. It was always organic to what Bring It On was about."
13. The Filmmakers Wanted To End The Cheerleader Stigma
Reed also spoke to The Huffington Post about his point of view as the director and commented, "The goal was to re-contextualize cheerleaders so they weren’t the people you hated... It was amazing to me that Jessica was able to make these cheerleader characters underdogs." Mission accomplished.
It's been 15 years since Bring It On premiered, and the world is a cheerier, more spirited place for it. Glee, Pitch Perfect, and OMI can all thank this film for bringing cheerocracy to the masses.
Images: Universal Pictures(2) Giphy (9)