Jerry Maguire – AOL Chat

AOL Chat

HOL Nina : Stay tuned for Academy Award nominee Cameron Crowe! Crowe, the director, writer and producer of “Jerry Maguire,” will join Hollywood Online for a chat!

HOL Nina : “Jerry Maguire” was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor for Tom Cruise, Best Supporting Actor for Cuba Gooding, Jr. And of course, Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for Cameron Crowe! Crowe’s career started at a young age when he became a staff writer for “Rolling Stone” at 16! At 22, he returned to high school to research “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” which became a best-selling novel and a hit film! He also directed “Say Anything” and “Singles.”

HOL Nina: Welcome to Hollywood Online, Cameron Crowe! We have plenty of questions for you already!

Question: “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” was released about the same time as a number of other “teen movies” by John Hughes and others. However, your movie seems to be the only one that has become a true cult classic. Why do you think that is?

Cam Crowe: Probably the actors… everyone loved their part and put their hearts into it. Not unlike “Jerry Maguire.”

Question: Do you think “Jerry Maguire” will receive any Academy Awards?

Cam Crowe: I’m still in shock at being nominated… who knows… all I know is that I’m a big fan of some of the other nominees, so it’ll be fun to go to the event.

Question: Are the rumors true that Tom and yourself want to make a Jerry Maguire 2?

Cam Crowe: Thanks Sleepers, we’ll get right on that! Actually I haven’t spoken with Tom about it, but sequels are always weird…

Question: I think all your soundtracks are great, how important is the soundtrack when you’re making a movie?

Cam Crowe: Music is a big big deal to me… I play music when I’m writing, when we’re filming, all the time… the best part of the whole process is putting the music in the movie. I’m always jumping around the room, going “turn it up, this is great!” They have to calm me down… my partners are Danny Bramson, and our music editor Carl Kaller… we have a blast, if I do say so myself.

Question: Did you ever wish you had a different job? Or did you always want to make movies and write screenplays…

Cam Crowe: Good question, Mike… when I first started, I thought that I would be happiest writing articles and books. I sort of fell into directing with “Say Anything.” It wasn’t until “Jerry Maguire” that I felt I could actually write on screen, as a director. It was a real revelation to finally be comfortable in the middle of all the chaos that directing brings. So now all I want to do is write and direct.

Question: Which character in “Fast Times” most mirrored your personality in high school?

Cam Crowe: Probably Brad. Poor Brad, who had to come home in the pirate outfit, while everyone else has the fun… I guess you know what happens to Brad next…

Question: The casting of Renee was both brilliant and ballsy. How much resistance did you receive from the studio brass?

Cam Crowe: Thanks for that one, Joe! Renee was the only actress who really brought all the heart and soul to the character of Dorothy… even more than was in the script. Plus, she rocked Tom’s world in all the auditions. They were great together. The studio didn’t say much after the first few days of filming.

Question: What was it like to be 16 and a staff writer for such a popular magazine?

Cam Crowe: Just a total blast… to be on tour with Led Zeppelin at 16 was something I will never ever forget… I plan on making a movie about those years someday soon.

Question: How did you convince the studio to let you direct “Say Anything”? Or was it their idea?

Cam Crowe: It was actually the idea of James L. Brooks, the producer, who is a hero of mine. (He is an amazing writer-director, one of the best ever, I think) He said, “Why don’t you ask your favorite directors if they will direct your script… and if they turn you down, then you should think about doing it yourself. They all turned me down, so I plunged into the deep end myself. I was lucky to have John Cusack, and John Mahoney (who played the dad). They are rough and tumble Chicago actors who know how to make a director look good. Same goes for Ione Skye, who was 17 when we made the movie. She was very real, and a little mysterious too.

Question: What was it like to work with Tom? and who is the little boy who played in the movie? Is he in anything else? I really enjoyed him.

Cam Crowe: Directing Tom Cruise was the single most fun thing about making the movie. I’m telling you — you aspiring directors out there — I wish you the same experience. He did everything I asked him to, and even came in to audition for the part just like any other actor. Later, I’ll tell you about some of the outtakes I want to put on the laser disc… some wild stuff… as for Jonathan, the little boy, he is the world’s biggest Tom Cruise fan. His favorite movie is “Top Gun” and he’s seen it 24,000,000 times. (small embellishment there)… but everything you see in the movie is him, basically, FREAKING OUT to be two feet away from Tom Cruise. He was hilarious to watch, and he had only done one McDonald’s commercial. Which, I had said, was the only kind of kid I never wanted to see in the movie. A kid like the kind you always see in commercials. Turns out, that our young Elvis was from commercials, and I was wrong!

Question: Cameron- congrats with Jerry! I am also a San Diego boy, and you’re the only one who could answer this: Is the mall from Fast Times based on UTC? and the high school La Jolla high?

Cam Crowe: Yes to # 1, No to # 2… say hi to UTC for me. When are they gonna put a roof on that thing???

Question: Cameron: What would be your “dream” movie to direct? I am a huge fan…keep up the good work….:)

Cam Crowe: Impulse, I hail you. Thanks… my dream movie would probably have a ton of music in it and be about music, and contain plenty of music… hmmmm. I sense a theme here.

Question: What do you think of the catch phrase “SHOW ME THE MONEY!” appearing everywhere as a common phrase? It seems like whenever I turn on the TV someone in a sitcom or commercial is using it…How did it originate?

Cam Crowe: Welcome back, Mike. I am a fool for research, I do a lot of it, for everything I write. For “Jerry Maguire,” I hung out around the NFL off and on for a few years. One of the guys I met was strong safety Tim McDonald, now of the 49ers, who casually said it to me one day. He said “My contract is up this year, and they’re going to have to show me the money to get me to stay.” He didn’t chant it, or use it as a slogan, it was just a thing he said in conversation, but the words always stuck with me. Because he said it in such a noble way. He had been beaten up for five years, and had a bad contract and wanted what he deserved. Later, when I wrote the script, I put the words in Rod Tidwell’s mouth… and somehow, it came out as a War Cry. I love that people use it, and I hope they know that it’s not about just $$$$$$$, it’s about love and respect. It’s about the KWAN. Which is better than just money. (I also want to thank Leigh Steinberg, and Jim Irsay who really helped me out around the NFL.)

Question: How long does it take you to write a screenplay?

Cam Crowe: All I can say is, I’M PICKING UP THE PACE. (It takes me a year or so, but “Jerry” took three.)

Question: Can we be expecting another movie soon?

Cam Crowe: Yep, I want to get back out there directing pronto. Mostly because of the experience on the last one. It was inspiring.

Question: Were you nervous about working with Renee since this was her first big movie?

Cam Crowe: Yes, I was… because you never know how everything will turn out when it’s blown up onto a big screen. And also the experience of making a movie… it sometimes makes me nervous, it can be so big. And I’m supposed to be the director! But Renee was and is all heart, she’s so real, and everything she does feels like real life and not like a “movie”. So I felt she was our girl, and man, she was.

Question: What was your inspiration for your movie “Say Anything”?

Cam Crowe: I wanted to write about first love, and first sex… how intense that can be, and how it can shake you up in ways you never even anticipated… I was stuck for a while, trying to figure out what Lloyd did for a living. And while I was writing, the guy next door kept ringing the doorbell, saying “I’m a kickboxer, why don’t you come and see me kickbox sometime?” And I kept saying “I can’t now, I’m trying to write this story about a guy in love… ” And then one day, it occurred to me. Kickboxing is the sport of the future. And my next door neighbor became the basis for Lloyd. (He lost most of his fights, but he always said “I almost won.” If you’re out there, Mr. Marchant, thanks bud.)

Question: Mystery woman wants to know…Are you married or in a serious relationship?

Cam Crowe: Like “Jerry Maguire,” I am happily married. No little kid with Elton John glasses, though.

Question: Even though you do them well, do you plan on doing a film without an element of romance?

Cam Crowe: I am a big fan of romance, so it’ll probably sneak its way into everything I do, even if it’s a matter of how you shoot it. One of my favorite directors once said, whatever you do, you always end up writing about love because it’s only theme in the world that truly moves people. And I loved that he said that, which proved his point.

Question: How has your experience as a journalist colored your perceptions as a screenwriter and director?

Cam Crowe: Totally. Being a journalist allowed me to listen to the way people talk, and study it, and know the rhythms. I suggest journalism to anybody interested in film, or filmwriting because it allows you to know how important details are, how people dress and walk and mostly… you will always know when something sounds fake.

Question: Mr. Crowe, tell me about Cuba Gooding…he’s great. Did he do his own victory spin in the end zone?

Cam Crowe: Absolutely… he used to be a breakdancer. We used to say to Cuba, “Let’s work on the dance…” And he would say, “Trust me, I will dance.” And we did, and he did. It’s all him, even jumping into the stands. What you don’t know, is that I made him do that dance 10,000 times, from a zillion different angles. Sorry, Cuba.

Question: Thank you for making a movie that is about the basic notion of living life with integrity and inspiration. To what extent was this a personal expression for you? Do you aspire to these ideals on a personal level?

Cam Crowe: The movie is a personal statement, no doubt about it. That’s why I’m still in denial that it’s in theatres, being seen by a lot of people. To me, the movie is sort of a love letter to trust and loyalty. And I think the greatest successes I’ve had have always come as a result of failure. Plus — I think we all decide every few days, that we are going to be the Best Versions of Ourselves… but within an hour or so, it’s much easier to be the Medium-to-Good version of ourselves. So the Mission Statement ends up being something that Maguire has to live up to. Almost against his will. (Enter Dorothy, our heroine… )

Question: Did you have a hand in the music supervision or write musical cues into any of your screenplays?

Cam Crowe: I write music into everything, all the scripts. Most of the time, the scenes are inspired by music, anyway. Then Danny Bramson and I start begging our heroes to let us use the music. As Danny says, “Jerry Maguire” is probably the last time you will see Neil Young, Paul McCartney, Aimee Mann, Herb Alpert, The Who and Charles Mingus in one place together.

HOL Nina: Thank you for joining us tonight, Cameron Crowe! Any last words? 🙂

Cam Crowe: Yes, it was so much fun… I was just getting warmed up… ah well…THANKS!!!!!

Courtesy of Hollywood Online (America Online, Inc.) – 2/98