We haven't seen Andrew Shue since Melrose Place. Almost 10 years later, he's back, working more behind the scenes. Though he plays a small part in Gracie, his role as producer was even more vital to getting the family project made. Based on sister Elisabeth's struggles to play soccer with the boys' team as a child, Gracie puts her experience on the screen to be a role model to all girls.
Andrew Shue on Gracie
"I think one of the interesting things was the very odd dynamic of having my sister being able to help develop a story that would, in a sense, would give advise to young girls of this generation of how she wished her mom would have given her advice in that generation," said Shue. "So I thought the end result was very powerful and would create conversations between mothers and daughters about how far things have come, what it was like for girls both in the workplace and also on the playing fields in the '70s and how it is today and how girls have really come a long way."
In real life, Elisabeth was nine and the coach allowed her to play. For the sake of the film, Gracie faces a legal battle with the school board, issues that Title IX addressed in real life. This came to light in the Shue's grown-up research.
"I don’t think anybody had an idea about it, to be honest. I don’t think that any young people had any idea what Title IX was, if there was an issue. I think most people were oblivious to that type of gender issues and I think that’s why it’s one good thing again to kind of hear conversation, `Do you know why things have evolved? This is important…' and there’s still controversy today. People get up in front Congress saying they’re taking away from guy sports. You go, 'Yeah, I guess it is because there’s so much money for football, basketball that it’s still hard to get all of the sports that you want.' But it’s been a crucial law that’s enabled the growth of girl’s sports."
The Shues shot their film in New Jersey, where they grew up, with the cooperation of the state. "I think, from the beginning, we wanted to tell a real story for it to feel true. Emotionally I thought we had to go back to some of the same places where we grew up. We also had the State of New Jersey help us finance the film which meant we were definitely shooting in New Jersey. And we have great pride about how and where we grew up and that was a big part of the story."
Even New Jersey's most iconic singer, Bruce Springsteen, lent a song to the film. "We had to pay a very small amount to kind of cover all the fees that are involved. It also set the standard for getting the rest of the soundtrack because getting 12 really good songs in a smaller budget film is hard to do."
Gracie is out in theaters now.
For the trailer, interviews, poster and more movie info, go to the Gracie Movie Page.
Stay tuned for updates.