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A Mighty Wind in our magazines

THE MOVIE: A Mighty Wind

Christopher Guest • Eugene Levy • Michael McKean • Fred Willard • John Michael Higgins
DIRECTOR: Christopher Guest

McKean and Guest THE CONCEPT:
Christopher Guest and his brilliant ensemble adlib another comedy, this time featuring a group of has-been folk singers – Mitch & Mickey, the Folkmen and the New Main Street Singers - who reunite for one night in New York City’s Town Hall, to celebrate the music that almost made them famous.

U.S. RELEASE: April 16 2003, Limited • Rated: PG-13


CHRISTOPHER GUEST (Alan, The Folksmen):
“Gene (Levy) and I spend five or six months writing the story, and it is deeply researched in terms of characters and back stories on all the people, and it describes the plot in every scene – so the actors have a tremendous amount of material going in. You can’t just walk into a room and start (adlibbing), that’s based on nothing. You need that structure to get through.”

JOHN MICHAEL HIGGINS (Terry, New Main Street Singers):
“The camera is more attracted to things that are happening, as opposed to the rehearsed. Even if you come in with prepared material, which all of us do, the spontaneous stuff is used as much as the prepared material.”

EUGENE LEVY (Mitch, Mitch & Mickey):
“I didn’t base the character of Mitch on Ozzy Osborne, but I saw the similarity after I started doing him. He seems like he can’t function, but when he’s on stage he’s a totally different person. At least you can hear him when he sings, you can’t hear him when he talks.”

MICHAEL McKEAN (Jerry, the Folksmen): on writing some of the song for the movie with his wife, actress Annette O’Toole):
“After 9/11 she was working in Vancouver (on Smallville) and so she couldn’t get a plane back, so she drove a rental car from Vancouver to L.A. and then the two of us drove back to Canada together, just because neither of us wanted to be alone. She sang me this tune that she made up and we came up with the phrase, Potatoes in the Paddy Wagon, only as a way to remember the rhythm of the song, and we liked the sound of it so much that we said, ‘Let’s see if we can write a song about a person whose name is Potato and why that person is in a paddy wagon. (which is sung by the New Main Street Singers in the movie).”

FRED WILLARD (Mike LaFontaine – New Main Street Singers’ manager):
“I prepared more for the scenes where I’m talking directly to the camera. When Christopher said, ‘Action,’ I didn’t want to go, ‘I don’t know what to say.’ It’s more fun in a way to do the ensemble scenes, where you know the background but you can’t prepare because someone else is going to say something that is going to lead you off in another direction.”

“I don’t look at this film as satire. I look at it as stories that are observations of human behavior as opposed to something that is satirical. Any backdrop could be construed as funny if the people take themselves seriously. That’s the key element in these films.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Images above © Warner Brothers
Feature © 2003 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #630, May 2003 cover

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Film Review, Kung Fu Special 2003 cover

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