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We Are in Xanadu

How do you survive the spectacular box-office failure of a film about a mythologically infested roller disco in Venice Beach? The lingering career effects of being involved in one of the best-loved bad movies ever.

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OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN
Played Kira

Followed up Xanadu with the aerobics-propagandist album Physical (No. 1 hit of 1981). Married Matt Lattanzi, a Xanadu backup dancer, and had a daughter in 1986. Her next film, 1983’s Two of a Kind, also failed, so she didn’t become a movie star. She battled a breast-cancer diagnosis, divorce, and the possibly faked disappearance of her debt-ridden boyfriend off a yacht in 2005. Released her 24th album, Grace and Gratitude, last year. Plans to return from overseas tour to attend Xanadu premiere on June 26.


MICHAEL BECK
Played Sonny Malone

Starred in 1982’s Megaforce, the Xanadu of that year, and was nominated for his second Razzie Award. Married in 1980, has two kids. Transitioned into TV guest-starring roles on Diagnosis Murder and jag. Has second career voicing books on tape. Narrates almost the entire John Grisham catalogue. Provided the voice of his character in The Warriors for the video game released in 2005.


ROBERT GREENWALD
Director

Redeemed himself, along with Farrah Fawcett, by directing the 1984 TV movie The Burning Bed. Went on to produce dozens of TV movies, including Can You Feel Me Dancing? and Murder in New Hampshire: The Pamela Smart Story. After directing 2000’s lukewarm Abbie Hoffman biopic, Steal This Movie, turned to lefty docs such as Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism, Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election, and Uncovered: The War on Iraq. Declines interview requests about Xanadu.


KENNY ORTEGA
Choreographer

Went on to choreograph Dirty Dancing, Douglas Carter Beane’s To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar, along with the less hoedown-intensive St. Elmo’s Fire, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and Pretty in Pink. Moved into directing, notably last year’s hit High School Musical. He’ll return for that film’s two sequels.


JEFF LYNNE
Composer

Propelled by the hits “Livin’ Thing” and the disco anthem “Don’t Bring Me Down,” his band ELO had been the biggest concert act in U.S. in 1978, but it was all downhill post-Xanadu. Broke up the band in 1986. Produced albums for George Harrison, Tom Petty, and the Beatles (1994’s Anthology reunion tracks). Now licenses ELO songs to TV: My Name Is Earl, The O.C., CSI, and Doctor Who in the past year alone.


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