’NSYNC’s not the only boy band making news this week. One Direction is releasing their concert “docbuster,” “One Direction: This Is Us,” on Friday.
In just three short years, Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik have taken over the world. “One Direction: This Is Us” gives fans inside access to the young men, touching upon everything from their goofy personalities to their fears about a life in showbiz. Based on a press conference we attended with the lads on Saturday, here’s a primer on what to expect from the film:
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It’s hard to believe that just three years ago, One Direction didn’t even exist. Director Morgan Spurlock (yes, that Morgan Spurlock) brings you back to 2010, when the much younger looking guys first stepped up to the plate to audition for Simon Cowell on “The X Factor.” After each boy was cut as a solo act from the show, Cowell decided to put them together and have them continue the competition as a group. They didn’t take home the crown that season, but they did promise fans that that wouldn’t be the end of One Direction — and they were right.
One D fans — or Directioners, as they call themselves — are everywhere in the film, and that was intentional, Payne says: “The film is definitely about getting across the story of the fans and the way that the fans definitely made this band,” he said. Watch as herds of young girls scream and cry around the world for a glimpse at Harry, Liam, Niall, Louis and Zayne.
Tons of concert footage
Whether or not you’re into the group, you’ll be treated to a concert of theirs when you take in the 3D film. Hardcore fans can sing along to “Little Things,” “Change My Mind” and other album tracks, whereas even the most casual fan can hum along to “What Makes You Beautiful.”
A look at their home lives
It’s certainly been a whirlwind of a ride for these five boys, but what’s the effect been like on their families? You’ll find out in the movie, thanks to interviews with the guys’ parents. In one touching scene, Malik is on the phone with his mom as she tours the house her son has bought her. Both sides of their conversation — Malik on the phone in an empty room, and his mom talking to her from the new house — are juxtaposed, giving the audience real-time footage of that special moment in their lives. “It was amazing, obviously, to see that, and it’s amazing that we have that on footage,” Malik says. “I’ll have that piece of footage on tape and that’s something I’ll keep quite close.”
The recording process
In one scene, poor Malik has just dozed off to sleep on the bus when he’s awoken by tk tk, his music writing partner, to record a bridge for a new song in the wee hours of the morning. The film took place while the guys recorded their third album, and Payne says it came with its challenges. “I don’t think the songwriting was the hardest,” he says. “I think in terms of the way that we recorded it being on the road, and it being quite a rush — that was the hard part.”
And what you won’t see:
Their love lives
Spurlock says that in order to keep the film’s focus on the boys and their career, personal relationships were left out of the movie. “When we have our free time, like when we had a week at home or whatever, the cameras weren’t with us there,” Tomlinson says.
Spurlock feeding them hamburgers
Though the director has presented provocative material in the past ("Super Size Me," "The Greatest Movie Ever Sold") this film is in a much lighter category. It's a straightforward look at the band, in a style similar to other concert films of recent years, like Katy Perry's and Justin Bieber's — both films that Spurlock was offered to direct. After passing on both for scheduling reasons, he told reporters on Saturday that he couldn't miss a third opportunity to follow one of the biggest artists of the day around with his camera. From his first meeting with the band, it was a collaborative effort.
"The first thing we did was sit down with Morgan," Payne says. "We had pizza and we just said, 'This is the kinda film that we want to make, what do you think about this? We don’t want it to be acted or scripted.'"
And nothing was off-limits. “We wanted to make a documentary, so the only way to make the best documentary is by giving the producer, the director and the cameras access to all areas," Horan says.