The Domino Principle
“For the pizza boy carrying his Domino’s white cardboard box with its trademark red logo, it felt like any typical working day in Hollywood. He arrived at the entrance to Sony studios and passed the security guard at the gate. He was pointed in the direction of a nondescript building, towards the back of the Culver City lot; he parked his scooter, walked across the car park and headed towards a steel door.
Which was when he realised that this was no ordinary delivery.
For one thing, eight armed guards ringed the brick building. He wondered whether he had come to the right place. But then one waved at him and passed a hand-held electronic scanner over him before ushering him through a door. Once inside, his pizza rapidly cooling, the delivery boy underwent a full airport-style security check. He turned out his pockets and put the contents, including his mobile phone, into a plastic container that was run through a scanning machine. The pizza was placed in a plastic basket and scanned, too.
Now he was accompanied by another guard, who escorted him into a lift. The guard used his pre-programmed card to take them up to the second level of the building. Out of the lift he walked across a small walkway to another door, where another guard checked his credentials again, until finally, at a reception desk, he was allowed to hand over the pizza.
After leaving his pizza the delivery boy was then accompanied back down the lift, and scanned once more before being allowed out of the building.
This was not the end of the journey for the pizza, however. After the contents were consumed the box was placed with all the other rubbish collected from this building and the whole lot scanned to make sure that no USB memory chips had been smuggled out.
This is how security works at ‘Project Love‘, the codename given to Hollywood’s most closely guarded project of the year – Michael Jackson’s This Is It film. With $1 billion at stake, the paranoia may be understandable. Nothing is allowed in or out of this building without all these checks. So tight is security that the 35 people who work here are not allowed out until the end of their shift. Food is brought in from the Sony campus and supplemented with regular pizza deliveries.
On the second floor are six editing bays, where some of Sony’s top technicians and editors are busily finessing the 108-minute documentary.
Jackson had always filmed his rehearsals so that he could pore over the footage, often through the night, deciding what was working and what needed correcting or modifying. More than 130 hours of high-definition film had been recorded and upon Jackson’s death these hours of footage suddenly took on a profound new significance.
As Randy Phillips, the CEO of the star’s concert promoter AEG Live, puts it bluntly in an exclusive interview with Live, ‘It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that we were sitting on a goldmine. Not only in financial terms but also in terms of what this footage shows.
‘Here, on film for all posterity, we have the greatest pop artist of all time showing his every move and thought process as he goes from describing his vision of the show to rehearsing the band and the dancers, to running through on stage what he told me was going to be his finest performance ever.”
Sponsor Domino `s Pizza is the Coca Cola.
I’m just saying … But in the coincidence I have long ceased to believe.