Elizabethtown – Spartan Daily

Interview with Cameron Crowe

Cameron Crowe is a filmmaker who knows how to fuse his love of music and movie- making into one. He started out as a journalist for Rolling Stone magazine and later moved into writing, directing, and producing movies. Along with his most recent movie, “Elizabethtown,” other notable credits on Crowe’s growing list include the ’80s teen hit “Say Anything,” “Singles” and “Vanilla Sky.”

Q: How do you view music in film as the medium of human emotions? What does music do that film cannot? What does film do that music cannot?

A: Wow, that is a smoking question! I just have to say that loving music is constantly surprising and viable to me as kind of a background for making movies because when you can match the right piece of music with the right piece of film, both get stronger.

But every once in a while, the right piece of music can really match something you filmed and scratch at your soul in a way that as a music fan and a film fan you feel like both are enhanced. I really love what has happened in some of the movies I have made right up through “Elizabethtown” with the way we have been able to use music.

Q: In the film when Claire meets Drew on the plane, she is speaking with him about what she believes names mean. I was wondering what you would say about your name? What would you say that a “Cameron” would be described as?

A: The only other Cameron that I really met was Cameron Diaz. I don’t know if there is a Cameron description, really. I mean, just as far as I am concerned, I would hope it would just be someone who is trying to follow their instincts. That is sort of what I am always trying to do in life or in the pursuit of making a movie.

Q: A lot of your movies have a real meaning to them. The audience leaves the theater wondering and thinking about what they just saw. What inspires you to do the movies you do and was there any personal experiences that you put into your film, besides “Almost Famous,” obviously?

A: Yes. I mean this movie, “Elizabethtown,” is a tribute to my dad. It is somewhat of a love letter to his home state, Kentucky, and that came from personal experience in knowing how much that was a part of our family heritage.

But I found pretty early on that for better or worse some of the times when I would write the most personal things almost to a degree where I would plan on cutting them out later but did not know that would be the thing that people would respond to the most. So sometimes that stuff comes from personal life and sometimes it doesn’t. So it changes but generally the stuff that comes from your heart is the stuff that other people find most universally true for them too I am happy to say.

Q: Orlando Bloom has been in so many movies where he has kind of played the traditional role of a hero – like “Pirates of the Caribbean” or “Lord of the Rings” – where he is swinging a sword or shooting an arrow. Did that play into how you cast him? Or what brought you to cast him?

A: I liked that he was surprising in the way he dealt with some of those things like failure and feelings of suicide and stuff like that. I like that he kind of masked a lot of the obvious side of that but if you looked in his eyes you could see what he was going through. I loved that he was sort of a stranger in a strange land in Kentucky, which was a big kind of thing that I wanted to represent. He also worked really well with the music I wanted to use. He’s a big music fan and it shows, I think.

Courtesy of the Spartan Daily – Christine Barker – October 12, 2005