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Fever Pitch: How Travolta and the Bee Gees Shook the Night

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With the latest issues of The New Yorker is a supplement, called "Movies Rock." The last article in it is "Fever Pitch: How Travolta and the Bee Gees Shook the Night" about the making of "Saturday Night Fever."

According to Sam Kashner's article,

After six months of prepping, a huge problem reared its head: the director turned out to be all wrong. [Assistant to Producer Robert Stigwood, Kevin] McCormick noticed that ["Rocky" director John] Avildsen was becoming increasingly difficult. "First he couldn't figure out who the choreographer should be. We met endlessly with [New York City Ballet principal dancer] Jacques D'Amboise. [Alvin Ailey star] Judith Jamison we talked to for a while. So, it just got to a point where Avildsen wanted to be put out of his misery. He was acting provocatively: 'Travolta's too fat. He can't dance, he can't do this, he can't do that.'"

Later, John Badham replaced Avildsen. According to McCormick,

"Badham, the most unmusical guy in the world, brought in the chorreographer, who was fantastic" -- Lester Wilson. Travolta had already been working with Deney Terio, a disco dancer who would later host a TV disco competition called Dance Fever, but wit was Wilson, many in the crew believe, who breathed life into the movie.
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