Tag Archives: Cameron Crowe

Ode to Bill Murray

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Cameron recently share a few anecdotes about Bill Murray for the latest issue of Variety (pictured above).

On the plot of the new film: Crowe: Murray plays the part of Carson Welch, a charmingly eccentric billionaire who runs a visionary company, Global One. He’s a dynamic player on the world stage. Lately Welch has been launching rockets and satellites too. Defense contractor Brian Gilcrest (Bradley Cooper) is his former protege.

On how he landed Murray for the role: I was lucky. Emma Stone had remained good friends with Bill Murray since “Zombieland.” It was Emma who first reached out and sent him a text. Did he want to join us in the fall, in Hawaii? Murray wrote back: “You. Hawaii. Crowe. Sounds interesting.” We both jumped up and down for a very long time, and then tried not to get too excited. Of course the excitement only built. I sent him a script, a little music and some books about the world of the character. One night Bill Murray called back, and I missed the call. No return number. And then there was silence. My friends tortured me mercilessly for missing Bill Murray’s call. (I picked up the phone hopefully, on the first ring, for weeks. Nothing.) Then came a text from Bill. And he’d sent one to Emma too. He had enjoyed some of the music I’d sent. I texted back immediately, and also asked a question about the young actor we were about to hire, Jaeden Lieberher. (Jaeden was also acting with Murray in “St. Vincent.”) Murray was enthusiastic in his praise for Jaeden. We hired Jaeden. Hiring Murray would not be so easy. We attempted to engage with his lawyer, but those discussions faltered without official word that Murray was in fact really interested. Sony officials warned us to start looking elsewhere — it didn’t look good. And then late one night came another text, not from Bill… but from young Jaeden. It read: “I just saw Bill at the wrap party. He told me to tell you, ‘Don’t listen to the suits. I’m coming to Hawaii. Aloha, Bill.’” And that’s how we found out he was going to be in the movie. He told us through his 10 year-old co-star, who I immediately nicknamed “Bill Murray’s Agent.”

On Murray’s process: He came to the set in Hawaii a few days before his part was to begin. No entourage, no big advance warning he was coming. He showed up and cased the joint, casually introducing himself to crew members. “Hi, I’m Bill.” It felt like Miles Davis, checking out the club where he might jam later that night. Luckily, he stuck around. To me, he said this: “Just tell me what you want, I’ll do my best to give it to you.” He’d add inspired suggestions as we went, but mostly flowed with the other actors, who were constantly thrilled he was there. A total dream. He even studied local traditional hula dancers, posed for pictures with them, and learned to blow the conch shell too. Wild.

On why Murray connects with audiences: I think in movies and in life, without a lot of fanfare, he maintains an incredibly personal connection with his fans. I got a big lesson in this one day when we filmed a little scene on a ship. I walked behind Bill Murray, as he was leaving the ship. It was amazing to see life from his perspective… each time someone looked up casually, and realized it was Bill Murray, their faces registered a kind of joy jolt. The cumulative rush of several decades of classic films they’d gotten so much enjoyment from, all in a second. And then, 20 feet later, two security guys who knew he was near, started playing “Ghostbusters” on a boom box. Murray shouted out “Ray Parker Junior!” And then he danced with the security guards. That’s the image I’ll remember. That, and him rolling our DJ cart through the set, on a break, singing to everybody Linda Ronstadt’s version of the Warren Zevon classic, “Poor Poor Pitiful Me.” He also had an unerring sense of anyone on the set who was having a bad day, or was lost in dark thought. Suddenly they’d find Murray behind them, massaging their shoulders, urging them to cheer up. After his last shot on his last day, the crew and cast gave him a five-minute standing ovation. I asked him, “Does that always happen?” He said, “Not really. They’re usually just happy when I leave.” And he smiled. We both knew it was untrue.

Courtesy of Variety – Ramin Setoodeh – October 16, 2014

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Oct 16, 2014

Archives: Joni Mitchell – Never Boring…

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“Every journalist has their dream list of interview subjects. Mine was Marvin Gaye, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell. I never got to Marvin Gaye, but Joni Mitchell more than made up for it. My last cover story for the magazine, and still my favorite. Years later, though, I was still chasing that elusive interview with Marvin Gaye. A mutual friend spoke to Gaye about it, and Gaye enigmatically sent me back a copy of What’s Going On signed in spangly colored pen. It read: ‘Dear Cameron – Keep Getting It On! Love Love Love, Marvin Gaye.’ A couple months later he was dead. Through earthquakes and rain damage, the record remains one of my most prized possessions.”
– Cameron Crowe – Summer 2000

Several days before beginning these interviews, I overheard two teenagers looking for a good party album in a record store. “How about this one,” said one, holding up Joni Mitchell’s ‘Miles of Aisles.’” “Naaaaaah,” said the other, “it’s got good songs on it, but it’s kind of like jazz.” They bought a Cheap Trick album.

When I told this story to Joni Mitchell later, I could see the disappointment flicker across her face for an instant. Then she laughed and took a long drag from her cigarette. “Here’s the thing, ” she said forcefully. “You have two options. You can stay the same and protect the formula that gave you your initial success. They’re going to crucify you for staying the same. If you change, they’re going to crucify you for changing. But staying the same is boring. And change is interesting. So of the two options,” she concluded cheerfully, “I’d rather he crucified for changing. ”

Joni Mitchell, thirty-six, has been living in exile from a mainstream audience for the last three years. Her last resoundingly successful album of new material was ‘Court and Spark,’ a landmark in poetic songwriting, performing and in the growth of an artist we had all watched mature. From folk ballads through Woodstock-era anthems to jazz-inflected experimentalism, Joni Mitchell had influenced a generation of musicians.

Then, in 1975, she released ‘The Hissing of Summer Lawns,’ her ambitious follow-up to ‘Court and Spark.’ She introduced jazz overtones, veered away from confessional songwriting and received a nearly unanimous critical drubbing. Mitchell reacted to the criticism by keeping an even lower personal profile. She spent most of her time traveling (the road album, ‘Hejira,’ was released in 1976), associating with progressive jazz artists and asking questions. With ‘Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter, ‘ a double album released in the winter of 1977, she and pop music had nearly parted ways. In a time when the record-buying public was rewarding craftsmen, Mitchell seemed to be steadfastly carrying the torch for art. Her sales suffered, but this direction was leading to a historic juncture in her career.

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Oct 12, 2014

Archives: Stills & Young

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Things have been pretty quiet around here, but we thought you might like this 1976 Rolling Stone story that Cameron wrote about the Stills & Young tour. More soon, so please stay tuned.

Quick End to a Long Run

In which Neil Young and Stephen stills find that old magic and lose it all to a sore throat

Los Angeles – Forget the balding pate and those wisps of gray. Stephen Stills and Neil Young, their hair cut summer-short, looked eerily like they did on the cover of Buffalo Springfield Again. But gone, at least temporarily, was the carefree abandon of those days. This was serious business.

The scheduled three-month-long Stills-Young band tour had been rolling only two weeks, and while it came close to jelling in Boston just a few days before, the show still teetered on the edge of the magic that everyone knew they were capable of.

Even before they broke into their opener, “Love the One You’re With,” the sold-out crowd of 20,000 at the Capitol Center exploded at the sight of Stills and Young on the same stage again. And this, the summer of Aerosmith and ZZ Top, it was nothing short of astonishing to see the sustained drawing power of two artists who have not seen a solo hit single or gold album in years.

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Sep 17, 2014

Faces Come Back to Life

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The Faces (1973). Pictured clockwise from left to right: Rod Stewart, Ian McLagan, Ronnie Lane, Ronnie Wood and Kenney Jones. Courtesy of WireImage

As Summer winds down, we thought you might be interested in a new Journalism addition to the site today. Cameron talks with The Faces for this 1973 interview with Circular magazine.  Cameron interviewing Rod Stewart between blow drying his hair creates quite a visual. Enjoy…

Faces Come Back to Life

Chasing Faces Through the Showers. Double Album, maybe.

It was originally due out in September, this notorious Rod Stewart/faces live double album. Recorded earlier this year at Philadelphia’s Spectrum and Chicago’s Amphitheatre, the package would have been the quintessential back-to-school item. But alas, it is now wintertime and the album has vanished from imminence.

“Two for tea,” cracks Ian McLagen while surveying the setting for his interview – backstage at the San Diego Sports Arena. The Faces have just encored, leaving behind 16,000 fans in a state of euphoria and turning a few jaded heads as well. The dressing room is predictably loud and hectic. McLagen is sitting on metal chairs and shower stalls down the hall. Every word promptly reverberates within tiled walls.

“The live album will be totally redone,” reveals McLagen. “We’re recording both Anaheims (the next night’s two shows at the Anaheim Convention Center) and the Palladium.” Pause. “I can’t hear at all. My ears are gone.” McLagen punctuates the statement by thrusting a finger into one of his blocked ears and jiggling wildly.

On that note, Connie De Nave, Faces’ publicist, enters. “Rod’s ready to talk,” she declares, leading the way to yet another dubious interview site: the john. Here Rod Stewart has a few moments to talk while he blow-dries his famous hair. “Me here is like a fookin’ lawn,” he mumbles amid the clamor of his hand dryer. “Got to sow it and mow it.”

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Aug 26, 2014

Archives: Pearl Jam – Five Against the World

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Happy Saturday. Thought it might be fun to look back on Cameron’s Pearl Jam 1993 cover story for Rolling Stone. It was the band’s first real in-depth interview just as Vs. was making its debut. There’s an even longer version that we might share one day, but for now, check out the published version.

Five Against the World

Pearl Jam emerge from the strange daze of superstardom with a new album full of rage and warrior soul.

There are two Eddie Vedders. One is quiet, shy, barely audible when he speaks. Loving and loved in return. The other is tortured, a bitter realist, a man capable of pointing out injustice and waging that war on the home front, inside himself. On a warm and windy late-spring day in San Rafael, California, it’s easy to see which Eddie Vedder is shooting baskets outside the Site, the recording studio where Pearl Jam are finishing their second album. It is tortured Eddie, the one with the deep crease between his eyebrows.

“Your shot,” calls Jeff Ament, the group’s bassist. He bounces the ball to Vedder, who takes a long outside jumper. It rattles into the basket and rolls away. By the time Ament retrieves the ball, Vedder has already disappeared into the studio. His mind is on a new song, “Rearviewmirror.” This is the last day of recording at the Site, and the track’s fate hangs in the balance. It’s a song about suicide… but it’s too “catchy.”

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Jul 19, 2014

Happy Birthday Tom Cruise!

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Tom Cruise turns 52 today and it seems like the perfect time to honor the man with a few interviews that he did with Cameron. The first one with Interview magazine back in 1986 was his most in-depth to date. They discuss his early years, Top Gun, The Color of Money and much much more. We also recommend that you check out Cameron’s Vanity Fair interview with Tom from 2000.

Lastly, have you seen Edge of Tomorrow yet? In my humble opinion, it’s a perfect Summer movie. Very entertaining and funny too. Do check it out.  Happy Birthday Tom!

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Hot Shot in Top Gun

It has been three years since Tom Cruise made his starring debut as Joel Goodsen, the awakening young capitalist in Paul Brickman’s “Risky Business.” The movie was a perfect showcase for Cruise’s style – equal parts comic vulnerability and dramatic strength. When the family egg tumbled through the air at the end of “Risky Business”, audiences everywhere felt the full weight of Joel’s predicament. By the time it landed, Cruise had arrived.

Now 24, Cruise has worked steadily since that memorable turn, but due to a combination of lengthy schedules and production delays, he hasn’t been seen since 1983′s “All The Right Moves.” That hiatus is about to end. This year will see the release of three high-profile Cruise releases. First comes Ridley Scott’s long-awaited “Legend.” The summer blockbuster, “Top Gun” will hit theaters this month, and due in December is “The Color of Money,” Martin Scorsese’s sequel to “The Hustler.” Cruise stars as the pool playing protégé/nemesis of Fast Eddie – Paul Newman.

I spoke with Tom Cruise at the Columbus Dynasty Restaurant on New York’s Upper West Side. A model of manners, Cruise rarely missed an opportunity for a “sir” or “ma’am.” When our talk was over, he thanked the waitress, hoisted his backpack onto his shoulders and disappeared into a crowded subway, looking a lot like Joel Goodsen a long way from home.

Cameron Crowe: You’re someone who is associated with a lot of people’s adolescent thoughts and fantasies…

Tom Cruise: Yep, I’ve been laid just about everywhere. On the train, in the bedroom, on the stairs….[laughs]

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Jul 3, 2014

Archives: Black Sabbath – San Diego Door

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Black Sabbath – Circa 1972

Cameron interviews Black Sabbath’s one and only Ozzy Osbourne for this 1972 interview for the San Diego Door. Ozzy is at his talkative and entertaining best here, so do check it out.

Black Sabbath Interview

You mentioned a few minutes ago about how tedious is to be on the road for as long as Black Sabbath has. 

Yeah. And as soon as you go home, you’ve got to start thinking about the next tour, so you’re not getting any rest. It’s not that the physical work is so tiring, it’s the mental work. You’ve got new albums to think about. You got to worry about whether you’re overexposing yourself, whether you’re not doing enough. You’ve got all this bullshit to think about.

Y’know before we went on this tour, I had an infected throat. I had a very bad throat that I noticed three days before we came (to America for the tour), which wasn’t any fault of ours or our management because we were going through this big change-around in the business-side. We didn’t know whether to go on the tour or not. So we just came over anyway… I couldn’t work the first week. My throat gave out completely. This is… what… our seventh tour of America. Major tours, too. We all feel very, very tired. We’ve done seven tours in just over a year, now. We’ve worked so much in this country it’s driving me loopy.

Are you happy with the new album?

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May 18, 2014

Editing Untitled Hawaii: Emma Stone and Bradley Cooper Get Serious

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Editor Joe Hutshing, Gilcrest & Ng – Untitled Hawaii Editorial – March 28, 2014

Here’s the latest picture from Untitled Hawaii courtesy of Cameron. It’s editor Joe Hutshing hard at work on a scene with Bradley Cooper (Brain Gilcrest) and Emma Stone (Allison Ng). Joe has worked his magic previously on Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous and Vanilla Sky.

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May 13, 2014


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