Twenty-five years after fulfilling their mission from God, the gospel of Jake and Elwood is still being praised by legions of followers. The Blues Brothers director John Landis, star Dan Aykroyd and a host of other contributors to the film celebrated the anniversary by putting on a live-via-satellite Q&A and screening event for those devotees on Aug. 29, the day the collector's edition DVD hit stores. Since Mr. Landis has never been involved in an event like this before, TVGuide.com was kind enough to give him a few warm-up questions, while simultaneously getting the scoop on Showtime's upcoming Masters of Horror series.
TVGuide.com: How has The Blues Brothers maintained its popularity?
John Landis: I think ultimately it's because it's entertaining. There are such extraordinary performers in it. People still want to see these great acts in their prime. Also, quite honestly, there's never been stunt driving before or after as spectacular or elaborate. That's all real, no [computer trickery].
TVGuide.com: Some of the stunts must have been extremely daunting for you to even attempt.
Landis: There were huge logistical issues. For [the chase under the Chicago's El train platform], we had more than a hundred PAs, plus policemen. We were shooting early mornings and weekends, but still, when you do a shot of 35 cars going over 100 miles per hour, you need literally a mile. Then you have to block off nearly every conceivable access to the street.
TVGuide.com: There are ample amounts of comedy, music and action in The Blues Brothers. How do you categorize the film?
Landis: I would consider it a musical comedy — like Singin' in the Rain with car crashes.
TVGuide.com: Three of your films, Animal House, An American Werewolf in London and now Blues Brothers, have collector's edition DVDs. Can I put in a request for Three Amigos! to get the same treatment?
Landis: Three Amigos! continually sells, so therefore I guess they feel like they don't have to spend money repackaging it. It's sad, because it's a beautiful-looking movie, but the DVD is [made] from the old laser discs. If they wanted to, I would love to do a collector's edition for Three Amigos!. I'm quite proud of that movie. [Veteran director] Walter Hill once said, "If they knew how much fun it was to make a Western, they wouldn't let us." He was right.
TVGuide.com: You are taking part in Showtime's Masters of Horror series. Do you consider yourself more of a horror director than a comedic one?
Landis: Neither, actually. Directors get typed just like actors, and because I've had great success in comedy and only made two horror pictures, I think it's ironic that I'm a "Master of Horror." But with this series, I'm in a very distinguished group of guys. Dario Argento, John Carpenter, Joe Dante, Tobe Hooper, Stuart Gordon and Takashi Miike are all doing [episodes]. That's a wild group of guys. So I guarantee that of the 13 that are getting made, some are going to be absolutely insane.
TVGuide.com: Can you tell us anything about "Deer Woman," your contribution to the series?
Landis: I'm very happy with it. It was written by my son and it stars Brian Benben, who I used to do Dream On with. Then there's Cinthia Moura; this is her first movie. She's a drop-dead-gorgeous Brazilian model and she plays the Deer Woman.
TVGuide.com: Is this your usual John Landis mix of humor and horror?
Landis: My usual mix? I don't know. It's definitely funny and scary and sexy. What was fun about this project is that it's director-driven, and nothing is director-driven anymore. We could hire anyone we wanted to be in it. We didn't have to hire from the 10 names they wanted us to hire from. If it could be made in 10 days for a million-seven, it was a go and that's what we did. It's going to be a fun series.