Say Anything… – Video Magazine

How to Succeed in Hollywood by Saying Anything

Cameron Crowe began toiling in the trenches of rock journalism at 15 with an impromptu assignment from a Rolling Stone editor he met at a concert. “It was dark,” recalls Crowe, now 31. “He didn’t know how old I was until afterwards.” By 16, the San Diego native had joined the magazine’s staff. At 22, he posed as a high school student to research Fast Times at Ridgemont High, a best-selling novel that became a genre-bending teen film in 1982. “Everybody acted like it was this big home movie. The first director they sent it to was David Lynch, who was looking for something to do after Eraserhead,” Crowe recalls with mordant glee.

More recently, the screenwriter proved his versatility by directing Say Anything…, a well-observed tale of mismatched teens in love, starring John Cusack and Ione Skye. Crowe developed the film – now coming to video – with executive producer James Brooks (Broadcast News, Terms of Endearment). The duo decided that if the two directors they had in mind turned them down Crowe would take a shot. “If it was going to be a first-timer, we figured it might as well be me,: says the neophyte.

“Directing a movie is probably the scariest experience you can have, especially if one of your favorite things is laughing at authority figures. One day you look around and you are the authority figure,” he smiles.

Now working on a script (Singles) about adult dating rituals, Crowe is a bit defensive about the typecasting potential of Say Anything’s teen milieu. “The idea was to create a father/daughter story with psychologically challenging relationship. I knew the characters were going to be young, but I wouldn’t have done if the idea was to do a ‘really cool teen movie.’

“My original goal was to write for my own age group. I was young enough when I started out with Rolling Stone, then it got tipped a little bit on Fast Times, and then the balance tipped a little more in writing Say Anything.” But, he adds teasingly, “It is the last thing I’m going to write where anyone wears a cap and gown.”

Courtesy of Video Magazine – Shari Roman – November, 1989