AMY SHERMAN-PALLADINO, CREATOR-DIRECTOR: One of the lovely things about Lorelai was the complete lack of thought that went into a lot of her blurts, then living with the consequences. I love my girl for that.
Questlove: I had lost faith in modern R&B. What was lacking for me was musicianship. Not since Prince had any black singer floored me musically the way D'Angelo did. There were plenty of great singers, but their music was mundane. From his keyboard patches to his sloppy, human-like drum programming, I felt like I had a kindred spirit and I wanted to be down.
Eminem: “Right before The Eminem Show dropped, I said to a few different people that I was in a little bit of a slump as far as Hip Hop was concerned. I was just bored. It was like the same artists were doing it consistently and nobody new was coming up. Then, right at the same time, my manager started pushing me like, ‘You gotta hear 50’s new shit...you gotta hear 50’s new shit.’ But when I’m in album mode, I can’t really listen to other people’s shit. So once I finished the record, I really sat down and listened to Guess Who’s Back. That and the first G-Unit [mixtape]. I started bumping them and they became my shit. But first I went to Dre with it. Dre heard it, thought it was crazy, so we were just like, ‘Let’s fly him out.’”
Steve Pankhurst: “Friends Reunited one was my wife’s idea, Julie, for a number of reasons. One we’ve never gone public with, because it was a long personal story. She’d tracked down her grandfather, who she’d never met, in Denmark, using the phone system basically. And then it was quite sad, because she never met him – he died a few months before she tracked him down. It was also the idea of how the internet was going to change the world, and make finding people so important.”
MIKE TOLLIN We went to a Century City restaurant and [Voight] literally was auditioning for the role at the table over steak and fries. It was kind of a Barry Switzer thing. He had a Southern accent. He knew it was gonna be Texas. We were talking about Darrell Royal from the University of Texas and Barry Switzer from the University of Oklahoma. He did three or four different coaches and we got a sense that he was right for it.
Jason Avant: It was just one of those days … that game was like if God could choose sides, he was with the Eagles that day … Everything went right. Busted plays went for touchdowns, fumbles on the sideline stayed in. There were just a whole bunch of crazy things that went our way that day.
DJ Sliink Jersey Club is an everyday lifestyle for a lot of people in the area. It’s always easy to get in trouble putting your energy into something negative. Jersey Club culture actually inspires the kids to be great at something. New Jersey isn’t the greatest area to live in but with all the help of people we made something positive out of our state.
Niles: It happened so fast. People started getting excited about it really, really fast. That was maybe the first time in my life that I got the sense that I might be able to write for a living. And, after having worked for McFarlane where you write what he tells you to write — and it’s fine, those are his properties — but having the freedom to do the vampires I wanted to and have the language I wanted to … There were a lot of people at the time who thought the art was insane.
Jenn Grant: “Well I did play one year close to Halloween and we dressed up as Ghostbusters for the encore and went raging through St. Matt's Church to that song ‘I Ain't Afraid of No Ghost,’ and several friends were in the audience dressed up as ghosts so of course we shot with our ghost-busting guns. Kinley Dowling stabbed me with a glow stick. That's all I remember.”
Campbell: It was my second audition in Los Angeles, and I had come out to L.A. [from Canada] to be a professional dancer. So when I got the show, I thought, Okay, I'll do the pilot so I can get my green card, and then I can stay in the States, and then I can dance here. [Laughs.] I didn't get my green card, I had a visa. And the show went for six years, which was not what I was expecting! And I didn't get to really dance on the show. [Laughs.] That would have been pushing it, I think.
Tom Zimmerman I told Atari about my glove, and they offered me ten thousand bucks. I was considering it, and then my friend in New York said, “No, it’s going to be worth more than this dude, don’t license it to them.” And I met Jaron Lanier at an electronic music concert at Stanford — apparently he had worked for Atari, but I didn’t know him. At this point, I had left Atari. Jaron told me about his company; he invented a visual program language with the name VPL, and he had a little tablet as the interface to it. I showed him my glove, and he thought, “Wow, this is much better than a tablet.”
Del Grande: We had all sort of had the same idea independently: spicy food in fine restaurants! I always felt like we were doing something illegal, that we were outlaws. Anne kept saying, “You guys don’t all go off on your own, you’re gonna be better off sticking together.” In other words, it’s not just one lunatic out there, it’s a bunch of lunatics.
Sherilyn Fenn (Audrey Horne): What was interesting about Twin Peaks is that they (ABC) didn't tell David what to do. He did not read a cast. He said, "Here's my cast!" He didn't say, "Here's my first, second, third choice, you all can read them and make them jump through hoops." He thinks an actor having to audition is the most horrible, brutal thing ever.
CAMERON The Terminator themes had been important to me since high school. Those apocalyptic visions, ideas about our love/hate relationship with technology, our tendency as a species to move in a direction that might ultimately destroy us, and a central faith in the resourcefulness of humanity. And those are motifs that have gone through all my films—Titanic has a lot in common with Terminator for those reasons.
Lucinda Williams: “The main reason to go was that you never knew who you were going to see. It was such a scene. The exciting thing at that time was the ‘Barndance.’ They’d have the house band and then guest musicians who’d come up and play three or four songs. That’s how I first played there. I remember meeting Mary Chapin Carpenter when she started out. Dwight Yoakam would perform there, and Dave Alvin. I miss there not being a place like that now. It was great to have somewhere to go to meet people of like mind. It was a supportive group of musicians and friends. Another great thing is that you’d see people on the way up, like Dwight, hanging out with people who were just starting out.”
Beltran: Some of the veteran guys, Bagwell, Biggio, who were there for a long time, came to me and said, 'You know what? Go out, have fun and enjoy, man.' This is a great opportunity for me, playing all those years in Kansas City and never experiencing anything like this. It was a great atmosphere and of course something as a player once you experience that you want it, hopefully to experience many times in your career.
Heder: When I was younger, if I got pissed at something, I'd definitely say something like, "Shut your mouth, you idiot!" So this was just an exaggeration of that — and not even that much of an exaggeration. Napoleon always has that scowling, mouth-breather look where he's kind of upset. I wasn't quite that upset all the time, but I did like some the things he liked. I went to Scout camp and I made homemade nunchucks out of carved wood. There's a lot of me in Napoleon.
Adam Goldberg(cast member, Mike Newhouse): Jason [Lee] was there the whole time. A bunch of us tried to convince him he should act, which I would later regret, because he’d get roles I was up for.
Phair: I was dating this guy and I was living in this apartment where I was writing the songs for Guyville. It belonged to some friends who had vacated and they'd left behind these cassette tapes, and one was Exile On Main St. I was listening to it and thinking about how to make a record, and I was fighting with [this guy], and he said, "Well, why don't you do that one? That's a double record" — but he was kind of sarcastic about it and so I was like, "Okay! I will!" I listened to it over and over again and it became like my source of strength — my involvement with Exilewas like an imaginary friend; whatever Mick was saying, it was a conversation with him, or I was arguing with him and it was kind of an amalgam of the men in my life. That was why I called it "Guyville" — friends, romantic interests, these teacher types — telling me what I needed to know, what was cool or what wasn't cool. I developed a very private relationship with this record, listening to it again and again and again.
Michael Rosenblatt: During the making of the album, we would walk down the street and people would just stop and gawk. This is before she was famous. She just had that look and that vibe; there was no stylist working with her. It was all her. We'd walk into a restaurant and people would stop eating and just stare.
NICOLA L.: Anything could happen in the elevator. It was either Janis Joplin or the big woman from the Mamas and the Papas who tried to kiss me in the elevator. I can’t remember which. It was a crazy time.
CURB: I said, "Mr. President, you used to love calling auto races when you were in Iowa. What about going down to Daytona?" He said, "I love NASCAR." By then, it had been on TV for a few years. We talked about the '79 Allison-Yarborough fight. He said, "Who are those two guys who got in the fight?" I could tell from talking to him that he knew about the race. He didn't mention them by name, but he remembered the incident. So he had been watching NASCAR to some degree.
Mr. Tyler: I hated rock videos that were literal interpretations of songs. But when I saw the "Walk This Way" script, I liked it. It called for a wall between us and Run-D.M.C. They'd be complaining about the noise we were making playing "Walk This Way," and when they cranked up their speakers and began scratching our record and singing over it, we'd act surprised and want to see what was going on. It sounded like fun.
Daniel McAdam: ‘John Henry‘ and ‘Almost Was Good Enough‘ will always be close to my heart because I play the guitar on those tracks. I had come to the session to play violin but Jason said “Dan, grab a guitar and play it” so I went downstairs and found Steve’s Rapeman guitar and plugged it in. I had heard ‘John Henry‘ once and ‘Almost…‘ never at all. Steve rolled the tape and I pulled my parts out of my ass. Both were first takes.
LARRY HARVEY (co-creator and executive director of Burning Man): My friend Mary Grauberger had done a celebration down on Baker Beach for years. In 1986, she’d decided not to do it again, and I thought we’d recreate that, but in our own way. I really wasn’t an artist. I was hanging out with these famous latte carpenters, all of whom, in their spare time, were writing novels or painting pictures or playing music. I think Jerry [James] may have asked me to repeat my statement on the phone so he understood what I was telling him: “Let’s burn a man on the beach.”
Danica McKellar (Winnie Cooper): I remember [meeting Fred] very well. I had been auditioning earlier that day in the room, then the producers told us to take a break and have a meal downstairs in the restaurant and come back up after dinner. At that time I didn’t know who was playing the character Kevin, but when we were sitting at dinner there was a really cute boy sitting with his family—and I wondered if that maybe that was him. When I went upstairs to audition, I was excited that it was the same boy. I felt the chemistry right away.
Tim Allen (Jason Nesmith/Commander Peter Taggart): Jeffrey Katzenberg got a hold of me and said, “We have a perfect movie that would use your smart-ass skills and it’s science fiction.” I was looking at two other movies at the time. One didn’t get made. It was an angel movie. The other one Robin Williams ended up doing. It was about a robot. “Bicentennial Man.” But it had no sense of humor to it. It’s very sad. How do you make a robot that doesn’t look like Data? But anyway, within three weeks of casting me, “Galaxy Quest” had Dean Parisot and went into a very different direction.
Alan Ball (series creator and writer-director of “Everyone’s Waiting”): The writers convened for season five to start working on story, knowing the show was going to end. I had always had an instinct that Nate [Peter Krause] would have to die, since his whole journey was coming to terms with his own mortality. But we didn’t want to end the final episode of the series like that. Once we figured out how to have him die three episodes from the end, suddenly it all started to fall into place. Somebody said, “We should just kill everybody” — I wish I could remember which other writer it was who pitched this, because it wasn’t me — and everybody laughed. And then whoever it was said, “No, I’m serious. We should jump ahead in time and see everybody at the moment of their death.” At which point I went, “Of course.” I mean, that’s the perfect way to end this show. How else could you do it?
Holden McNeely: God appears and she’s a woman and she absolutely slaughters him over the course of like 20 minutes. As he’s threatening God to fight him, he screams, “You will taste my Murderfist!” We thought it captured the general feel of the group pretty perfectly.