This week’s Onion A.V. Club has a tremendous interview with John Landis, director of many, many great things (including one of my most favorite movies, An American Werewolf in London). There are so many great bits that it’s hard to choose a proper one to excerpt, but here’s a delightful quote:
When we made The Blues Brothers, it was all Bee Gees and ABBA. Now, I get questions like, “How did you get Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin and James Brown to be in the movie?” And I have to tell them, “It’s because they were thrilled to get the job.” To give you an idea of how different it is now, when we did The Blues Brothers, MCA/Universal refused the soundtrack album, because they said no one but old black people would buy it. Then we went to what was called a “black label,” Atlantic, and they refused to put John Lee Hooker on the album! Fifteen years later, John had a platinum album.
Oh, also, and very importantly, this bit:
People don’t understand this: Ideas are important, but they’re not essential. What’s essential and important is the execution of the idea. Everyone has had the experience of seeing a movie and saying, “Hey! That was my idea!” Well, it doesn’t mean anything that you had that idea. There’s no such thing as an original concept. What’s original is the way you re-use ancient concepts.