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SALT LAKE CITY — More than 40 years after "Saturday's Warrior" premiered on stage, Lex de Azevedo is adapting his work to the big screen.
Although the play was filmed on video in the late 1980s, de Azevedo said it didn't have the same impact, and he resisted adapting the musical to a film himself until last fall.
"I have resisted making a film of 'Saturday's Warrior' because, to me, 'Saturday's Warrior' is kind of hallowed ground. It's hallowed by the lives that it has changed," de Azevedo said. "...I didn't think I could make it any better than the stage play, and that all changed last year."
Many have asked de Azevedo for the reboot over the last 40 years but, last fall, he finally figured out how to make the film fun, exciting and current, and he believes it will have more impact than the original play.
The new "Saturday's Warrior" will be set in the 1970s and will include all but three of the original songs, including "Daddy's Nose," and will also include four additional songs. The songs will be re-orchestrated, de Azevedo said.
The plotline is similar to the original but includes some twists and deeper insight into the characters.
In the reboot, we learn that Mr. and Mrs. Flinders each gave up big musical dreams when they had children, and life is hard for them. The large family has a singing group similar to the Partridge Family, and they hope their family act will make it big someday.
Meanwhile, their highly gifted son, Jimmy, is in a counter-culture rock group and writes a song called "Zero Population" that tops national charts.
The song catapults him into rock star status, and his family is horrified he's written a song that promotes limiting the size of families.
The film will be set in LDS culture, but de Azavedo said the filmmakers aren't trying to be preachy.
I have resisted making a film of 'Saturday's Warrior' because, to me, 'Saturday's Warrior' is kind of hallowed ground. It's hallowed by the lives that it has changed.
–Lex de Azevedo
"We open up the show. We have fun with it," de Azevedo said. "It's not so didactic, preachy, we hope it'll appeal to a wider audience, but it's still very much 'Saturday's Warrior.'"
Filming begins this fall with a planned premiere for next summer.
In hopes to take the film global, de Azavedo launched a Kickstarter campaign Tuesday, and contributors have the opportunity to appear in the film, among other options, if they back the project. de Azevedo said fans get to determine how big they want to make the film and how far they take it, based on how much money is raised.
Pledges starting at $10 will receive exclusive, behind-the-scenes updates and higher pledges receive higher rewards, according to the Kickstarter campaign page.
Filmmakers are in contact with celebrities to make cameo appearances.
"I have always been amazed at how Saturday's Warrior has impacted people, and I've often wondered why," de Azevedo said. "And I think … they love the music and the story, but I think the thing that impacts people … is the idea that there's more to life than just this life."
To learn more about the original stage production of "Saturday's Warrior" and the upcoming film, watch this video.