Exclusive: John Landis Clarifies Comments on ‘American Werewolf’ Remake & Lucasfilm
Since Collider’s recent interview with John Landis from the Toronto International Film Festival was posted, two quotes have been taken out of context and are spirally around the internet. Read in context with the entire conversation, the quotes don’t really reflect what the recent headlines suggest are Landis’ thoughts on both recent developments in the Star Wars franchise and John’s opinion of his son Max Landis writing a remake of An American Werewolf In London. Today, John Landis got in touch with me hoping to clarify what he said and since I’ve personally been frustrated by the deluge of clickbait hot takes that came out of my interview, it only seemed fair. So, in the interest of cleaning up a mess, here’s a portion of a little phone chat that I had with the man behind some of my favourite movies. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that these words will travel as far across the ol’ interwebs as the last ones. But, I’m happy to put this out there for those who care to look. So without further ado, here’s a little clarification straight from the horse’s mouth.
JOHN LANDIS: I have a Google alert and I was amazed by the headlines that came out of that. It was really like, ‘What is this Chicago in 1924?’ The headlines were insane! I just wanted to clarify that I didn’t just warn Max, I think anyone who attempts to remake a movie that is held in high regard is really risking something. The truth is that I’m not against remakes at all. I mean, David Cronenberg’s The Fly is a great movie and it’s a remake of a beloved classic, same with John Carpenter’s remake of The Thing.
COLLIDER: Yeah and even The Wizard Of Oz is technically a remake since there had been previous versions.
JOHN LANDIS: Absolutely. Sequels don’t bother me either, The Godfather Part II is one of the great American films. So any apprehension that I expressed is because I think it’s daunting. But the truth is that as I said, Max is brilliant and he wants to do it. He’s an incredibly smart, passionate guy and I was horrified to see that the impression everyone got is that I am somehow trash talking my son, which could not be farther from the truth.
COLLIDER: From my perspective, that was very clear to me in the room and I apologize if there was any confusion in how looked in print.
JOHN LANDIS: Well, that’s what happens. It’s true of anything taken out of context. It’s what they glom on. And what’s interesting is that then they have all these headlines about me trashing Star Wars. Well, I’m not trashing Star Wars at all. I think what George created is remarkable. I think J.J. Abrams is terrific and Ron Howard is terrific. I was bemoaning the fact that so many people have come and gone. It’s clearly the new Lucasfilm. But I certainly wasn’t criticizing the filmmakers or calling them slaves. Not at all.
COLLIDER: Yeah, you referring to a quote from George Lucas.
JOHN LANDIS: Yeah. It’s unfortunate because I don’t mind criticizing the new Lucasfilm, but I do mind people thinking that I was criticizing the filmmakers because I wasn’t.
COLLIDER: Well, I’m happy to get this out there and clarify.
JOHN LANDIS: Good. I really want to correct the impression that somehow I’m dissing Max because that’s the furthest thing from my mind. My main emphasis is that I am fucking crazy about my son. He’s a really good person and an extraordinary talent. He never fails to amaze me. And I also don’t think that people understand that once a writer writes a script, the director’s making a movie. If the writer’s not a director, you don’t know what’s his. Every director changes stuff. Even I’ve done that. So do movie stars. So the actual movies don’t always reflect the screenplay. Think of all the directors who were screenwriters, Billy Wilder, Francis Coppola, Preston Sturges. These are all writers who became directors because they were tired of having their scripts fucked up. The other thing that I’ll address even though it won’t do any good but because I’m fascinated by it is that people always say that he gets jobs because he’s my son. Well then they know nothing about the movie business. Even I’m looking for work!
Some of this interview has been edited for space and clarity and to get my dumb voice out of the way.