Big Time Rush goes James Bond, with a Beatles soundtrack
What do tweens and teens want? More cute, nonthreatening guys who happen to be decent singers and star in the hit show "Big Time Rush."
What's a fun era? The 1960s.
Which band could they do covers of and bring a new generation into the fold?
And what device would make for a fun film? A James Bond-type international thriller with an intentionally silly plot.
The process that went into formulating the film is obvious, but that doesn't detract from its fun. Calling it a movie, though, which the cable station does when anything is longer than a regular episode, is lofty since the final cut will clock in at 68 minutes or less. But it is indeed a romp, and it unabashedly bows before 1960s icons.
Big Time Rush are the same four who have been starring (and go by their real first names) in the show: Logan Henderson, Kendall Schmidt, Carlos Pena Jr. and James Maslow.
"The Beatles have always been a huge influence for me, and I am sure for many artists," Henderson says. "The creators sat us down before we did the movie, and told us (of Beatles movies), 'It is a little bit different than the movies you are used to seeing.' It is pretty crazy and cool to see the dynamic the Beatles had in the movie."
Big Time Rush had just arrived in London from their concert dates in Germany. Henderson and Schmidt talk about how much they love the Beatles.
"What is really disturbing is there are fans of ours (to whom) I have mentioned we do Beatles songs and they say, 'Who are the Beatles?' It is a privilege for us to introduce them," Schmidt says.
In this they sing "We Can Work It Out," "A Hard Day's Night," "Revolution" and "Help!"
The plot is intentionally implausible and goofy, but so were the Beatles' movies. Big Time Rush walk across Abbey Road, twirl the black umbrellas and have screaming fans chase them, all in Beatles mode. A hulking henchman wields a huge silver hammer for a hand, and yes, his name is Maxwell (a nod to the song "Maxwell's Silver Hammer"), and the heroine, Penny, is the daughter of an MI6 agent, Simon Lane (aka "Penny Lane"). Even if the kids don't get those references, their parents will.
For the Bond aspect, the opening has them parachuting from a plane, riding a motorcycle -- which a bear jumps on (warning: do not look for logic) -- piloting personal watercraft and driving a tricked-out Aston Martin.
Though Schmidt is behind the wheel of the sports car, he confesses he did not drive.
"I wish I was driving," he says. "I never learned how to drive a stick shift. I told them to give me a couple of days to learn, and they didn't want me learning on a $150,000 car. Sitting in it was nice enough."
The film has them land in London and immediately and unwittingly become enmeshed in a spy caper. Again, do not look for logic, but the essential plot point is that one of their backpacks was switched with a backpack carrying an anti-gravity device in the shape of a beetle. The safety of the entire world hinges on who controls the device.
Sir Atticus Moon, whose evil intentions include not only world domination but destroying the moon as well, is on a mission to acquire the metal beetle, and he dispatches his forces to retrieve the backpack from Big Time Rush. Meanwhile, Kendall's kid sister, Katie (Ciara Bravo), has notions of becoming a princess. Carlos has been dreaming about rescuing a princess from an evil billionaire intent on world domination. And wouldn't you know, the guys find themselves in that very predicament.
The four get to save the world, wear tuxedos and show their bravery while singing.
"This is a dream," Henderson says. "I never thought I would have the opportunity to sing the Beatles' songs. When Apple Corp. said they wanted a younger audience and they paved the way for the music, to be able to do that was such an honor and a blessing."
His favorite Beatles' songs are "We Can Work It Out," "Revolution" and "Honey Pie." Schmidt's are "Hey Jude" and "Blackbird."
Henderson and Schmidt both got a kick out of doing the James Bond-type spy actions, and Henderson says he hopes to do more action films. Given that both guys are musicians, singing these classics was a thrill.
"It is a privilege," Schmidt says. "There are a lot of people who I am sure, in their free time, play Beatles songs. But to play something, to represent to the best of our abilities what the Beatles were is a privilege. It is a big compliment. You should have seen how my parents reacted. There was a lot of, 'That is so cool!' going on."