INT: Cameron Crowe
Its good to see Cameron Crowe return to his roots. Before he went all experimental with VANILLA SKY, Crowe was an expert at serving up heartfelt guilty pleasures like SAY ANYTHING and ALMOST FAMOUS, emotional films infused with hip soundtracks that found their way into the dorm rooms of sorority girls everywhere. For his new movie, ELIZABETHTOWN, Crowe mined aspects of his own Kentucky youth to craft a story about a man who finds redemption in the unlikeliest of places. Oh, and it features another quintessential Cameron Crowe soundtrack.
Last week Crowe stopped by the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills to talk about ELIZABETHTOWN. A sincerely kind and gracious individual, he tempered my desire to bludgeon him for all the times I heard drunken louts scream Show me the money! after JERRY MAGUIRE. Check it out.
inspired you to make a film set in
I had been
working on this other project; I had been on tour with my wife and had dropped
much of you is in
exactly is represented by the Spasmotica, the shoe that
It was an unwieldy dream with the best of intentions and I think in the longer version of the movie, its slightly explained, but it was always meant to be an enigma. What happens is that in the quest for true nobility and greatness it needed it wasnt quite there. And now you have to say, in the timeline of the movie, its after the movie ends and people start to realize if you clip the wings off, it really does give you a sensation of walking on the clouds, so it was an unfinished noble dream that they gave up on too soon at Mercury shoes.
Did you research the shoe business? Why the shoe business?
Yeah, when its tied to lifestyles and accessories and clothing and a huge ad campaign, you start getting into big, big money. And the billion dollars was a bit of the fable aspect of the story. But there are these maverick guys who run these shoe companies and sometimes they will say I am not going to test market this. That doesnt happen in the movie business I am not going to test market this; this is a shoe that must come along with a pump. And it doesnt work. Why the shoe business? It could have been anything; what I liked, and maybe this is over explaining, I just liked the idea that theres a guy who could learn so much from people by the shoes hes wearing. Hes looking down at the world and whats happening and whats happening around him. And I just like the poetic idea of somebody who needed to come along and lift his head up to look around at the world itself and that was Kirstens character.
One comedic centerpiece of the film is the seemingly endless wedding of Chuck and Cindy. Is that something youd seen before?
have seen the earlier cut; it was even more endless. (laughs) Yeah, and I saw it
during the making of the film; we were shooting this in hotels. Crazy.
We were in
So I would get my video recorder out and say Your wardrobe is perfect; where did you get it? Were making a movie. And theyd be like, Is that the Orlando Bloom movie? (laughs) Yes, it is, and theres a wedding in it so can I just shoot your wardrobe? And theyd say Yeah, if you make a video tribute for us. So Id shoot them and their wardrobe and then Id turn the camera around and say, Have a great life Brad! Id change tapes, shoot again, because the wardrobe was based on a lot of things we saw it does go on for days, and there is a schedule of events, and there are the cigar smokin dudes and theyre hangin over here; and then theres the Debs and the bridesmaids who hang. You could do a movie about Chuck and Cindy.
How do you gather the music for a movie like this?
much the music in this is what survived all the different stages and worked the
best. And then I took some out cause I didnt want it to be too music-heavy.
If you can believe it, there was even more music that was in there. It
was always meant to be a tribute to the American singer/songwriters
there are so many great ones and they dont get played
so I just wanted to
use the movie to play some of these great singer/songwriters like Patty Griffin
and Ryan Adams. But
These days, do any artists ever say no to you when you try to get the rights to songs?
Yeah, Sigur Ros said no but then gave us one song for Vanilla Sky. Yeah, sometimes they say no and sometimes they ask for a lot of money that we dont have. But its tough now, because so many tv shows and movies are made by music lovers and so its like thats the new radio, because theyre playing stuff and theyre really giving exposure to songs so you want to give them something to make it stand out a little bit. The funny thing is nowadays it used to be the sanctity of rock that you could never let your song be used in a commercial; that was the thing, like, Oh man, well never let our music be exposed that way. Now, theyll call you up and say, You gotta use this song, you gotta use this song in your movie man. Its the new VW ad! (laughs) People love it! People love it! And you realize boy, have times changed. Cause I dont think Nick Drake began his career thinking hed be the voice of the VW Bug. But, embrace the times.
Ideally, what do you want audiences to take away from a Cameron Crowe film?
Interesting question I think I want them to feel like the characters are real, cause the movies Ive loved are ones where the characters are so real to me that I feel like I know them and I miss them. And I feel like I know Fran Kubelik from The Apartment I do, I know her, to the point that when I see Shirley MacLaine in another movie, I go, Thats Fran! And I love it, and I have been oddly satisfied a few times in some of the movies Ive made that the actor has matched the character to the point where they live. And John Cusack was that guy (Lloyd Dobler) and he is. Its the thing that when he acted it, it came to life and thats my favorite thing; like if Kate Hudson is able to twirl and for a moment be a character that you believe is real, Penny Lane its the coolest.
Questions? Comments? Manifestos? Send them to me at email@example.com.
CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN GALLERY & SEE MORE PICS...