MASTERCLASS LEGENDS: MARGUERITE DERRICKS [DS2DIO]


Uploaded by DS2DIO on 27.07.2012

Transcript:
GALEN HOOKS: Marguerite Derricks, she's the recipient of four MTV Movie Awards,
three American Choreography Awards, an NAACP Award, and is distinguished as the only choreographer,
in history, to have won three consecutive Emmys. On top of that, she's choreographed some of
the most memorable moves from over fifty films, including Austin Powers, Charlie's Angels,
and even Tom Cruise's dance at the end of Tropic Thunder. I am your host, Galen Hooks.
Marguerite, thank you for being here. MARGUERITE DERRICKS: It's good to be here. GALEN HOOKS: So
I wanna start off by clearing the record. It's no secret that everybody finds you intimidating,
including myself. I used to find you intimidating. I mean back in the day you used to wear these
sunglasses and you would sit in the middle of the room in a director's chair with your
platform Pradas, and it was just so intimidating. But there's actually a story behind it, right?
MARGUERITE DERRICKS: Well, you know, yeah. I'm blind as a bat, so those, ah, dark glasses
are prescription glasses, and back in that time, I didn't like wearing contacts, and I
didn't like regular glasses. So, I would put my prescription glasses on, and I could just
see everybody so clearly. But I guess it put up like a wall and, um, it was quite intimidating.
I see pictures of myself and I go, "Oh my God, like, it's midnight and I still have the glasses on."
It kind of served a good purpose for me, cause I started to work as a choreographer
rather young, and I think it, it helped me to, at that time, get a sense of control and respect
from people and I, I don't think I have to go to that extreme anymore. GALEN HOOKS: Tell
me about you. What were you like as a kid? MARGUERITE DERRICKS: I was a disaster. I was
a young me. I'm from Buffalo, New York. There's nothing to do in Buffalo, but dance, for
me as a kid. So I, very early on, I think seven or eight, I was dancing five, six days a week.
I was in this little junior ballet company, and all the little boys on, in one of the shows
had to bring a rose out. And my partner didn't bring my rose, and he got laid out
on stage. GALEN HOOKS: What? MARGUERITE DERRICKS: Yeah, and I was like that kid that used to go around
and put everybody in their place. I was a disaster. So I was doing what I do now. As
a kid I just didn't realize like, what it was. And I started teaching when I was twelve.
GALEN HOOKS: Wow. MARGUERITE DERRICKS: So when I was twelve years old I started teaching dance.
I feel, I've been a teacher my whole life. GALEN HOOKS: Wow. MARGUERITE DERRICKS:
I just, you know, as a young kid, I was just trying to figure out what that was. GALEN
HOOKS: Were your parents supportive of you wanting to actually do it as a career? MARGUERITE
DERRICKS: Yes. In fact my mom, when I was sixteen I went through that crazy teenage time and,
I had a scholarship to the New York City ballet school for the summer. But, I kinda liked hanging out
at clubs. I moved out of the house and my poor mother watched this.
And she went one night and told all the club owners that I was only sixteen years old, so I got kicked
out (LAUGHS). And I was like, I called and I said, "Can I have my scholarship back?" and
that got me back in line. I went back to New York City ballet school. When I was eighteen,
um, my mother is like, "I have to get her out of Buffalo because she can't stay here, in
Buffalo, and do what she, you know, loves doing." So my step father gave me six gold coins and
he said, "Sell the six gold coins, and use that money to move to New York." And I, called and
I sold the six gold coins for three thousand dollars and I used that money to move to New
York and start my career. GALEN HOOKS: What were some of the jobs you did in New York
as a dancer? MARGUERITE DERRICKS: Um, in New York you have to sing, so every audition I
went to, I would make it through the dance call, and then it would be time to sing and
then, bye bye. And my first job was Kiss Me Kate with Maurice Hines and Robert Goulet,
and they didn't make me sing at the audition. And so I made it down to the final six and
they needed five. And, um, I didn't, everybody was getting the call that they got the job
but I didn't get the call. And I remember I was living on, in Hell's Kitchen, which is
beautiful now, but back in the 80s it was not beautiful. And I would remember, I was
in my bathtub, crying because, this was my only chance, because I didn't have to sing for this
audition. And one of the girls dropped out, and I got the job, and that was my first equity
job was Kiss Me Kate. And then came Fame. GALEN HOOKS: Cast as a dancer on NBC's hit
series Fame, Marguerite took her first step toward becoming a legendary choreographer
for film and television. She found her greatest success in the unlikeliest place she could imagine,
a commercial for the GAP. Your career really took off as a choreographer with GoGo,
the GAP commercial, Austin Powers. Did you foresee that happening? MARGUERITE DERRICKS:
Oh no. I actually had psychic tell me that. GALEN HOOKS: What? MARGUERITE DERRICKS: Um, when
I was doing Striptease with Demi, Demi bought a session as a gift for me. And she said, "You
are gonna be famous for an ad." And I was like, "Famous for an ad? That's,
I don't know what that means." I did this GAP GoGo commercial, it aired the night of the Oscars, and two
days later I was on a 5 a.m. flight to go and talk to Diane Sawyer. I was in Elle
Magazine, I was TV Guide, New York Post, they got me a publicist. Like it just was crazy.
Like overnight, a GAP commercial, and I think I had a couple Emmys under my belt already
and I had done quite a few movies, um, but then they linked it to Austin Powers of course
and I became like the "it" GoGo girl. GALEN HOOKS: Marguerite was able to reach a level
of success in the film industry that few choreographers can imagine. And just when it seemed like
nothing could slow her down, an injury forced her to take a whole new approach to her craft.
So, you also had a knee injury at some point. MARGUERITE DERRICKS: In the early 90s, I was
working on Morris Day video. I think it was like a twelve or fourteen hour day. And my
assistant, who was working with me, was like, um, "Are you gonna teach class tonight?" And
I'm I was like, "Oh, I don t think so, it's been a long day." And I could see on her face that
she wanted to go to class. So, I ended up going right from set to class. I was on a set
all day long, I went and I was sitting in the chair, they were doing the choreography. At the very end
of class I decided to change something. So I got up and I said, "And I want
you to do this." And I jumped and I did a tour in the air and when I landed I fell to the
floor and the whole room (GASPS) got really quiet and everybody was scared. And I got
up and I'm like, "Oh, I'm fine." And I opened my legs to second position, to plie and my
knee just buckled. And I went home and I called my agent and she said, "Walk. Just walk around, Marguerite,
just get up and walk around." So I'm walking around, and I woke up the next day
and my knee was huge. And when I went to the doctor's he said, um, he was gonna take
the needle. He goes, "If blood comes out, it means you tore something, if water, then it's
not so bad." And he stuck the needle in and just all it was was blood. I had ripped
all of the, ah, the ACL and both meniscus in my knee. Like I blew everything out. I was
devastated when it happened and I was really scared. The first doctor was like, "Yeah, a year
recovery." And I went to another doctor and he said, "Yeah, we'll have you back on your
feet in four to six weeks." So I'm like, "Okay, I'm going with you." It was the best thing
that happened to me as a choreographer. Because all of a sudden it wasn't me just doing what
I could do. I didn't rely on the movement that my body could do, I was more in my head.
So I learned to do my craft, like this, which was, so much better. The first thing I do when
I get to a studio is, I find the chair, and I drag it across the floor, and I sit down. And
I, I see everything. Like when I dream, I dream of dance and I dream of pictures. And so,
it really opened me up as a creative person. You know they always say there's you,
when something bad happens it could be really something good, and it's true. It was, it
was a gift. GALEN HOOKS: Wow. MARGUERITE DERRICKS: My knee injury was a gift. GALEN HOOKS: Do
you sometimes wish you could still just like get on in the dance studio and just dance?
MARGUERITE DERRICKS: I like to be lifted, I like partnering, so there's a lot of jobs
where I get, I make sure that I do that. Or like, for instance, when I did Mr. and Mrs.
Smith, oh I went and I danced. I took Brad and I brought a really good looking guy for
Angie, and I was like, "I am not gonna miss this opportunity." I got all up and through there.
Um, but I don t miss it, I don't miss doing it all the time. And when I need to get off
with dance, I definitely do that. GALEN HOOKS: Cool. MARGUERITE DERRICKS: Yeah. GALEN HOOKS:
You've won a ton of awards, you've, you've gotten great recognition over the years for your work.
Do you feel like choreographers deserve even more recognition? Like a category at
the Oscars, or when you get the award-- MARGUERITE DERRICKS: Yes. GALEN HOOKS: it should be televised?
Tell tell me about your thoughts on that. MARGUERITE DERRICKS: Um yeah, ah, there was,
back in the day, there was, ah, an Academy Award for choreography and, um, the choreographers
used to get their awards, ah, even at the Tony Awards they're not getting them on the televised—-
GALEN HOOKS: Yeah. MARGUERITE DERRICKS: program anymore. And that's the one thing I really
love about working in New York, is that the choreographer, when you look at the poster,
it's the choreographer and the director's names are there. So in New York, like, the
choreographer, they like, the importance has always, the light has always been shining
on the choreographer in New York. Why they would change that at the Tonys, blows my mind. Because
when people go to see theater, or when people watch a movie, the dance, now matter how
big or how small, when I did Little Miss Sunshine, my dance routine at the end, helped
them to finish that storytelling, and helped them to finish the movie. They didn't know how to end it.
And, and the directors have been so generous, um, to say that about my idea
for her to do a strip routine. I mean, that came from me. Cause as choreographers it's
not just steps, it's our ideas, and it's our storytelling, cause that's what we do through dance.
So why that wouldn't be recognized in the same way that a director or someone
else is on on the film blows my mind. That's not right. I've spent my whole career fighting
for rights for dancers and choreographers, and I will always be very vocal about that,
cause it is important. And it feels good to get the recognition for what we do. GALEN
HOOKS: You're, a legend in the industry, you've got so many awards, done so many films. Um,
but it all stems from your love of dance and, you've said before that dancing makes you
feel like that dream you have when you're flying. Does it still make you feel that way?
What does dance mean to you? MARGUERITE DERRICKS: You know, sometimes you get caught up when
you get really busy, and I'm working on three or four projects at a time. You just get caught
up in the work and it kinda makes me step back and I, I took time to like, go inside again.
And I have such a renewed love for what I do. And now when I go to work, I feel like
I'm flying again. So, I feel like I'm on a high again. Like I, I, I'm just loving what
I do so much. GALEN HOOKS: Thank you for joining us today. That was fantastic. Thank you guys
for watching. Make sure you click subscribe so you can stay up to date with Marguerite
and our other top choreographers here, as well as all of us here at DS2DIO. If you have any
questions for Marguerite that I didn't get to today, you can post them below, you can
post them on Facebook or Twitter. We will get you answers. Thank you for watching. See
you next time.
MARGUERITE DERRICKS: Bye.