“Prom” portrays the precarious passage from high school to independence as some relationships unravel and others ignite as the big dance approaches. For Nova Prescott (Aimee Teegarden), it’s a battle of wills as she finds herself drawn to the guy (Thomas McDonell) who gets in the way of her perfect prom. Fellow seniors Mei (Yin Chang) and Tyler (De’Vaughn Nixon) harbor secrets, while others face all the insecurity and anticipation that surrounds one of high school’s most seminal events. There are hundreds of nights in high school, but there’s only one “Prom.”
Nothing comes as freighted with ambitions as a teenager’s senior prom. Similarly, Disney’s new high-school comedy faces its own expectations, mostly that the purveyor of squeaky-clean kids’ entertainment won’t be able to handle any edginess in the storytelling.
Disney is, after all, tackling a night known for its revelers’ experimentations with adulthood: sex, drinking, even mortality. (The prologue to every prom night is usually a school assembly about the grisly outcome of drinking and driving.)
But director Joe Nussbaum says these aren’t the only things that matter. He hopes “Prom” will show truth and heart in its coming-of-age stories. “Of course we’re not going to show sex and drugs and cursing, which is a part of teenage life, for sure,” says Nussbaum. “But there are a lot of other parts to teenage life, too — insecurity, anxiety, disappointment on the negative side, and also falling in love, having crushes, and the excitement of an event like this on the positive side.”
Disney’s plans to make it resonate with actual teens, as opposed to the younger tween fans who drove the “High School Musical” franchise. New studio chief Rich Ross, formerly of the Disney Channel, said he wanted “Prom” to be closer to the “honest and authentic” works of John Hughes and Cameron Crowe, icons of teen-dom from the ’80s with movies such as “Sixteen Candles” and “The Breakfast Club” and “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” respectively.
Nussbaum’s goal is to capture the intensity of emotion on one of the most memorable (or notorious) nights in teen life. “High school elevates all the highs and lows in life,” he says. “Everything is a big deal. And prom elevates it all even further from there.”
Opening soon across the Philippines, “Prom” is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International through Columbia Pictures.
Watch the 2 official trailers of “Prom” here: