2 posts tagged john belushi
2 posts tagged john belushi
Animal House, one of the most-loved movie comedies of all time, is hotter than ever. There’s a Broadway show in the works and a new, behind-the-scenes book called Fat, Drunk, & Stupid by producer Matty Simmons, who talks to us about what Hollywood first thought of the script (hated it!), what got cut, and why there was never a sequel.
Some highlights from the interview:
On Hollywood’s initial response to the script: The Chairman of the Board of what was then Warners, now Time Warner, had been a friend of mine for many, many years. His name was Steve Ross. I called Steve up – now remember, the National Lampoon was red-hot, the biggest humor magazine in the history of publishing – so I called him up and said, “Steve, we have this movie treatment and I want to bring it to Warner Bros. And he said, “Great, we want to make a movie with you. Look, I’m going to Hollywood tomorrow and I’ll give it to Ted Ashley (who was the chairman of Warner Bros.). I said, “Well, I really think I should bring it in and discuss it.” He said, “Matty, I’m his boss, let me bring it to him because I want to make this movie.” He hadn’t even looked at it. He called me about three days later and said, “Matty, I’m really sorry to tell you this, but Ted Ashley said it will never make a movie.” Then, by pure coincidence, a guy calls me and says, “Mr. Simmons, I work with Ned Tanen, the head of Universal Studios and I just want you to know I’m a huge Lampoon fan, and if you ever have a movie idea, please let us know.” And I said, “Well, it just so happens. …”
On getting the green light: My junior partner at the time was Ivan Reitman and we went into Tanen’s office and he said, “I hate this movie. Everyone’s drunk or having sex or getting beat up. Do you think you could make it for less than $3 million?” Now I had never made a movie. Ivan had made a couple of movies in Canada for about $8. I said, “Absolutely.” And I didn’t know what I was talking about. We made it for $2.8 million, and overall, everything in to date, it’s grossed about $600 million.
On the audience response: We screened that movie in Denver … and at the end of that movie, the audience was standing on chairs and screaming and applauding and yelling. No one had seen anything like it. And then when they brought it back to Hollywood, they did a test screening and it got the highest rating in the then-history of the ratings system.
In his new book, Fat, Drunk, and Stupid: The Inside Story Behind the Making of Animal House, producer Matty Simmons talks about the making of one of the most influential comedies of all time. (That’s Matty in the picture at upper right, with Animal House director John Landis, center, and John Belushi.)
Get the inside story behind the inside story in the Hollywonk interview.