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Miranda Presley (Samantha Mathis, left) hopes her songwriting talent will be recognized by Lucy (K.T. Oslin), owner/manager of The Bluebird Cafe, in "The Thing Called Love." The Paramount film was directed by Peter Bogdanovich and produced by John Davis. The screenplay was written by Carol Heikkinen. George Folsey, Jr. is the executive producer and Darlene K. Chan is the co-producer.
Principal photography commenced in November 1992 in Nashville, Tennessee with musical training and vocal coaching for the film's young stars beginning concurrently with rehearsals and continuing during filming. Billy Swan and Rick Fleischman were vocal and guitar coaches; Danny Ferrington was guitar consultant.
Nashville choreographer Claudia Edwards Severs created for the film a line dance performed during the full moon dance sequence. The dance was inspired by the popular nocturnal assemblies of people in farms and large open areas in cities like Nashville during the full moon. The song that was written for the scene is "Big Bad Love" by J. Steven Soles and Webb Wilder. The dance was created by Severs to implement steps common to folk dancing traditions.
"It's a fun way for people to get out and find other people," Severs says. "And a lot of people like to participate in line dances because they can be learned without people having to worry about embarrassing themselves. They have lots of different bands at these events -- established artists as well as new ones."
After four weeks on location, the company relocated to Los Angeles to work on a sound stage where the interior of The Bluebird Cafe was re-created by production designer Michael Seymour on Paramount's Stage 5.
The Bluebird Cafe is currently celebrating its 10th year in Nashville and has been the stepping stone for numerous singers and songwriters who have gone on to national prominence. Many of these stars return to the club to try out new material. Some of owner Amy Kurland's renowned alumni include Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Mary-Chapin Carpenter, Alan Jackson, Joe Diffie, Pam Tillis, Hal Ketchum, Jennifer Kimball, Pat McLaughlin, Sweethearts of the Rodeo, T. Graham Brown, Michael Johnson, Foster & Lloyd, Radney Foster's solo career, SKB Band, Beth Nielsen Chapman, John Gorka, Kevin Welch, and Carlene Carter.
On 'open mike' nights at The Bluebird Cafe, the line starts forming early and the doors open at 5:30 P.M. On an average, 20 to 24 performers get a chance to participate as friends and family cheer them on. The country hopefuls who come to The Bluebird Cafe are seeking their chance at making their dream come true -- this is the manner in which they want to fly over the rainbow as bluebirds do in the classic movie song that inspired the Cafe's name.
"I admire the young songwriters in Nashville who work as waiters, construction workers, temp help, anything," Kurland says. "The fact that they get in there every week and come back and subject themselves to the ever present danger of humiliating themselves in front of an audience of their peers, well, that's the most fantastic thing anybody could do for the love of the music."