Ordinarily, the leap from filming television commercials to directing a big-budget, star-studded, original Hollywood musical would be a daunting one. For Los Angeles–based Australian director Michael Gracey, maybe not so much.
For an ad for T-Mobile, Gracey staged a flash-mob dance in London’s Liverpool Street Station, with 350 dancers moving in sync to ‘Get Down on It’, ‘Do You Love Me’ and ‘The Blue Danube’. In another, spruiking Lipton Ice Tea, a weary Hugh Jackman takes an invigorating gulp before whirling into action, strutting and spinning through a Tokyo hotel. And then there was surely the most thrilling commercial for a degreaser and grime-removal spray ever made: a one-man dance spectacular in an auto-repair shop, set to ‘Maniac’ from Flashdance.
“I got used to shooting fast and used to shooting big,” says Gracey over the phone line from LA. “I...
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