Feature by: Jack Foley
THE decision to make Charlies Angels: Full Throttle was
not a foregone conclusion, even after the enormous success of
the first film, according to those closest to the production.
For even though Charlies Angels took $40 million during
its opening weekend in November 2000, and still holds the record
for the best debut by a first-time director, very few of the production
team had made definite plans to return.
"I never saw myself coming back to do a sequel," admits
Cameron Diaz. "I like to work with different people, different
directors, different stories.
"Then Drew called with a new twist on the storyline and
said lets do it again! and Drew doesnt
stop until she gets what she wants. She is so enthusiastic and
gives you so many good reasons to participate in her adventure,
that theres no way to go against it."
In fact, the decision to make a sequel was decided informally
by director, McG, and his three co-stars some time after the first
film was completed.
One of the deciding factors, however, was ensuring that it wasnt
merely a repeat. Says Barrymore, one of the films
producers: "We made a pact that we wouldnt do it if
it meant repeating ourselves. Now the question was how to balance
that responsibility and still have a lot of fun."
"It all starts with the writing, of course," Barrymore
continues. "In this film we learn more about the Angels,
delving deeper into their backstory. Weve also sharpened
the comedy and notched up the action."
Nancy Juvonen, Barrymores partner in Flower Films, and
producer of Full Throttle, explains that much of the first films
time was devoted to setting up the concept and the characters.
"Even though it had been a popular TV show, there was an
entire generation that wasnt familiar with it," she
explains, "which left us less time to develop the characters.
So this was a great opportunity to have all three Angels come
back and pick up where we left off."
And with that direction firmly established, Diaz was able to
reform the camaraderie she experienced with Barrymore, Liu and
McG, from the first film.
"Its a great partnership," she reveals. "Each
day is an adventure. Youre never sure exactly what youre
going to be called on to do.
"In this film, among other things, I learned to weld, I
surfed, I was in a roller derby, and performed a number with this
amazing group of beautiful, sexy dancers called the Pussycat Dolls."
Adds Barrymore: "We are constantly looking out for one another.
Its rare to find that kind of consistent support and encouragement."
With the three principals on board, the next task was to find
a replacement for Bill Murray, as Bosley. But the production quickly
turned to Bernie Mac, who proved a welcome addition to the sequel.
Explains McG: "Bernie has an amazing energy, a unique voice
and brand of comedy. He brings a fresh dimension to the movie."
For his part, Mac confesses to being a bit concerned about following
in the footsteps of one of his comedic idols, and knew he was
not going to succeed by simply trying to fill Murrays shoes.
So he constructed a back story for himself, in which Murrays
character had related his adventures with the Angels and about
his secret-agent experiences.
"When I first get the opportunity to join the Angels, Im
a bit overwhelmed. Its like when you get something you really
want but arent prepared for what its really going
to be like."
Mac also decided to take the character of Bosley in a more paternalistic
direction than his predecessor.
"I wanted to show a warm side of Bosley, almost a father
figure to the Angels," he continued. "They take him
under their wing and make him family. What I liked about the character
was that he didnt come off as a superhero.
"He started as someone who was in over his head, but worked
hard and made real progress. You see him becoming part of the
program and how he builds his relationship with the Angels and
how it gets better day by day."
One of the biggest casting coups, however, was reserved for one
of the villains - namely Demi Moores retired Angel, Madison
Lee. The role was written specifically with the actress in mind.
Since Moore was the template for Madison, Barrymore was definitely
not going to take no for an answer, as she reveals:
"If she had turned us down - which I wasnt going to
let happen - I was going to camp out on her doorstep until she
said yes," she laughs.
But Moore attributes her decision to sign on to the enthusiasm
of both Barrymore and McG, saying: "McG might call Drew his
secret weapon, but the truth is, they were a one-two
punch. Their mutual enthusiasm and passion was very persuasive."