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Q&A: John Landis Talks 'Three Amigos!' Turning 25, And Gives Insight On Other Classics

Evan Crean Evan Crean
November 22nd, 2011 2:30pm EST

EC: I had a couple of questions on some of your other work.  This one is about your film ‘An American Werewolf in London.’  First, all of the songs on the soundtrack have ‘Moon’ in the title.  I’m assuming that was deliberate. 

JL: Yes, they were all specified in the script.

EC: But there were three songs that you wanted, that you weren’t able to get. Cat Stevens’ ‘Moonshadow,’ Bob Dylan’s ‘Blue Moon,’ and Elvis Presley’s version of ‘Blue Moon.’

JL: That’s exactly right.

EC: Where were you intending to use those in the film? If you don’t mind my asking…

JL: Gosh, you know what, I couldn’t tell you now. It was a long time ago, but I wanted to use ‘Moonshadow’ as the title song.  That I know, whereas now it’s the Bobby Vinton version of ‘Blue Moon.’  If you listen to the lyrics about ‘Moonshadow’ it’s a song about dismemberment.

EC: That’s pretty brutal subject matter.

JL: Yeah it’s this lovely little song.  I thought it was pretty good.

EC: Switching gears, your ‘Blues Brothers’ films, hold some serious records for the most number of cars wrecked in a movie. 

JL: I don’t think that’s true actually. I read that too, but we only destroyed about 50 cars, all together.  We just kept using the same cars over and over.  We had a 24 hour body shop going in Chicago.  By the end of the movie those cars were all bombed out.  It’s interesting.  There are other films like ‘The Bourne Identity’ or the last ‘Fast and Furious’ where they are smashing cars right and left.  I don’t really know if that’s true.  Even the old Keystone Cops, they destroyed a lot of cars.  But yes, we crashed a lot of cars.

EC: I guess then the figures I read online, may have been a little exaggerated?  They said 100 cars in the most recent of the two, and like 80 cars in the original. 

JL: In the remake, there was one stunt where we destroyed 55 cars.  And that was amazing.  In the remake there is a huge crash where cars were destroyed.  But in the first one, we kept using the same cars over and over and over again. I mean there were hundreds of collisions on screen, but we’d use the cars, then fix them, then use them on screen again.    

EC: Thank you for your time.

JL: Thank you.

Three Amigos! Comes out on blu-ray today. 

 

 

Photo Credits: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.; , Andrew Evans / PR Photos