Top 10 Behind-the-Scenes Facts About Julie and the Phantoms
VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu
WRITTEN BY: Val Namaki
We bet you didn't know these behind-the-scenes facts about "Julie and the Phantoms." Our countdown includes a Ferris Bueller connection, the casting process, the hardest scene to shoot, and more!
Top 10 Behind the Scenes Facts About Julie and the Phantoms
Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Behind-the-Scenes Facts About Julie and The Phantoms.
For this list, we’ll be looking at little known trivia about the Netflix musical show
Do you know any other fun facts? Let us know in the comments below!
#10: The Other Names for Sunset Curve
Unsurprisingly, there were many names considered for the boys’ band before Sunset Curve was chosen. But what likely went unnoticed is the series’ nod to these. In the season finale, there are band posters hanging in the background of the Orpheum. But they aren’t just any posters! They actually depict group names that were once considered. If you look closely, you can see that the names “Big Wonzie”, “Whisper Cats”, and “Midnight Madness” were all once contenders! If you ask us, Sunset Curve was the right call, but any of these other picks would have definitely been fun.
#9: A Ferris Bueller Connection
“Julie and the Phantoms” is executive produced and choreographed by Kenny Ortega, who also directed several episodes. While many know him because of High School Musical, he has an extensive resume that includes choreographing “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”! There's actually a nod to it in the show: remember the "I Got the Music" number Julie imagines? The inspiration for that performance was none other than the “Ferris Bueller” parade sequence! The series also references Ortega’s work as the choreographer for “Dirty Dancing”! The dance moves in "Perfect Harmony” are reminiscent of Johnny and Baby’s dance, and you can see a take on the infamous lift when the group gets the call from the Orpheum.
#8: Dirty Candi's Style
Did watching Carrie and the rest of her group perform give you a sense of deja vu? There’s a good reason for that. It turns out that the hit girl group Fifth Harmony’s dance moves provided the inspiration for Dirty Candi’s. And no matter how you feel about Carrie and the girls, there’s no denying their style was vibrant. Their fun on-stage outfits, reminiscent of literal candy wrappers, were actually custom made! According to the show’s costume designer Soyon An, the bright and lively outfits actually draw their inspiration from K-pop and Japan’s streetwear. That, combined with the fact that each member of the band has a signature colour, gives us major closet envy.
#7: The Casting Process
There was one thing that was really important to Ortega while casting: creating an actual band. He said, "I see this as a series that has an album, that is a band that can tour, and that can take on a multitude of lives." Ortega had a very specific image in mind. For Julie, he envisioned a Latinx newcomer. On their end, the boys had to mix "humor and heart". And of course, all four needed to have acting chops and the musical skill required of their characters. The actors described the audition process as extremely demanding, with multiple singing, playing, and acting requirements. Luckily, Ortega felt a spark watching Madison, Charlie, Jeremy and Owen perform. Thus, Julie and the Phantoms were born.
#6: The Songwriters Behind "Perfect Harmony"
Throughout the preparation process, the band was given plenty of creative freedom to make the music their own. And because their creativity was encouraged, Madison Reyes and Charlie Gillespie, who play Julie and Luke, actually wrote "Perfect Harmony"! They knew the number represented a big moment for their characters, so they took it upon themselves to work on it in private whenever they could spare a moment. Interestingly, they were inspired by Gabriella and Troy’s romantic rooftop number in “High School Musical 3: Senior Year”. When they surprised Kenny Ortega with the finished product, he liked it so much that he decided to put it in the show! We’re glad he did, because it’s one of the most beautiful moments in the series.
#5: The Evolution of Julie's Clothes
It's often said that the clothes we wear are an outward reflection of how we feel. This is definitely true for Julie. Ortega and Soyon made the deliberate choice to have her outfits evolve alongside her throughout the show. At first, her clothes are baggier, reflecting the fact that she's hiding from the world. But as she grows into herself, her style becomes more confident. Her butterfly adorned outfit is actually meant to be representative of this evolution. Of the look, An said "this is when the caterpillar who has been cocooned this whole time has finally turned into a butterfly. And now it's time for her to fly." As we see Julie find her voice, we also see her find her style.
#4: Recording the Songs
There’s no question that music is a big part of this show’s identity. The songs are good, but beyond that Ortega made sure they had meaning and sent a message. In an interview, he described how “Now or Never”, which is sung by the boys, had to convey the energy that Sunset Curve was about to be the next big thing. Similarly, Ortega explained how Julie’s performance of “Wake Up” is a pivotal moment that needs to be portrayed as such, since it's the audience's first look at her identity as an artist. Essentially, without even hearing a line of dialogue, viewers understand who the characters are through the soundtrack. It’s a pretty impressive feat.
#3: The Dahlia References
If you look closely enough, you'll realize just how prevalent dahlias are in the show. In fact, some sort of nod to them, whether literal or not, can be found sprinkled in throughout the 9 episodes of the show. Sometimes it’s intentionally obvious, like in the final episode, but in many cases it’s worked in as a subtle detail. The reason for this is a touching one: they’re there as a tribute to Julie's mom Rose, whose favourite flower was none other than the dahlia! Julie reveals this fact in episode 6, but the fact that the flower was continuously referenced before this was an unspoken way to weave her connection with her mother into the story.
#2: The Hardest Scene to Shoot
The scene where Madison pleads to her late mother in the alley of the Orpheum is probably one of the show’s most touching and emotional to watch. Not to mention it’s followed by an equally chilling performance of “Stand Tall”. Just as these moments were intense for viewers, they were for the actors too. In fact, Madison Reyes described them as being the most difficult scenes to shoot. She said, "It was really mentally draining and coming up to be the last week of us filming, so those feelings were 100% real and it was our last performance together.” She also shared that the song was technically challenging for her, though she’s mastered it now. Here’s hoping there’s a second season so this band can deliver more amazing performances.
#1: The Actors Actually Performed the Songs
While a lot of times actors can fake musical skill for a show like this one, that wasn't the case here. Kenny Ortega made it a priority to ensure that he was putting together a real band. This meant that a big emphasis was put on making sure the cast really honed their musical skill, because it’s always them performing. From singing, to playing their characters’ instruments, to acting on top of all of that, the preparation was intense. In fact, before shooting began a “boot camp” was set up so that everyone could get ready. The cast described it as jam-packed days where everyone really got the chance to master their craft. And as an added bonus, it served as a major bonding opportunity.