We love all the ingenious stunts the folks from Improv Everywhere consistently dream up, and now we're about to love on them even more. This is because their inventive, spontaneous flash mobs have invaded our favorite movies for a new series presented by Fandango called Movies in Real Life. Essentially, Improv Everywhere founder Charlie Todd and his neverending list of improv junkies will be tackling various movies this fall by re-creating iconic scenes in real life.
Their first episode is called Rocky in Real Life, and for it the group traveled to Philadelphia, dressed up an actor to portray Rocky Balboa and... well, let's just say they went for a little run. You can watch the first episode of Movies in Real Life below.
Following the premiere of episode one, we caught up with Improv Everywhere founder Charlie Todd to talk a little bit about what actually goes into staging one of these elaborate movie stunts, especially one on the very busy streets of Philadephia.
Movies.com: How do you pick what movies to celebrate in the Movies in Real Life series?
Charlie Todd: I had a meeting with my crew earlier this year and we brainstormed a few dozen ideas. We narrowed it down to 10 for the series, but I hope we eventually do them all. The key is to find a big iconic moment that everyone is familiar with and a site-specific place to bring it to life. These projects work best when we marry the perfect movie to the perfect location.
Movies.com: What's your favorite and least favorite parts of planning an Improv Everywhere stunt like this?
Todd: My favorite part is always watching it unfold live in the moment. We plan things for weeks, and it's really rewarding when the moment finally comes and this idea is running wild in the real world. It was awesome watching the streets of Philadelphia react to our Rocky. My least favorite is all of the unexpected headaches that come from producing something in the real world, like finding out that roads by the art museum in Philly are incredibly busy. They're completely empty in Rocky, but that's thanks to the movie shooting at dawn and blocking off streets. We try to use all of these hurdles as inspiration for more comedy. My favorite part of the video is Rocky and the kids waiting at a crosswalk.
Movies.com: How many people joined in on the Rocky run beyond the people you had planted?
Todd: We had about eight kids join in spontaneously when we were at the Italian Market. It was great! Then we had about 100 kids who were in on the joke waiting to join us when we got near the museum.
Movies.com: Do you have a favorite story from that day?
Todd: My favorite moment from the day was when a fruit seller threw Rocky an orange. This happens in Rocky of course, but we didn't think someone would actually play along and throw an orange to our Rocky actor. It felt like everyone in Philly was intimately familiar with the "Rocky Run." When people saw what we were doing, they just immediately wanted to play their part and join in.
Below: a mash-up of all of Rocky's famous runs
Movies.com: What's April Fool's Day like in your house?
Todd: My mom and dad taught me to celebrate April Fool's Day at a very early age. My dad was always pranking my sister and me with some crazy story as soon as we woke up. It was my favorite holiday growing up.
Movies.com: Can you give us any clues as to the future movies you'll be covering in this new series?
Todd: Next week we're doing Indiana Jones. We have a boulder. I'm really excited to share that one. The series has a few surprises though, including a romantic comedy and a classic film. It's going to be a fun fall releasing these.
For more episodes of Movies in Real Life, keep tabs on Improv Everywhere's YouTube channel, as well as Fandango.
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