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DIRECTING

 

 

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THREE BUSINESSMEN

 

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THREE BUSINESSMEN

 

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THREE BUSINESSMEN
Main Title music

[by Pray for Rain]

 

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THREE BUSINESSMEN
 

HOW DID YOU GET BLONDIE TO DO THE SOUNDTRACK ON THREE BUSINESSMEN?

It isn't Blondie - it's Debbie Harry.  And she sings the title song, "Ghost Riders In The Sky."  The rest of the score is by Pray For Rain.

WHY "GHOST RIDERS IN THE SKY"? 

"Ghost Riders In The Sky" is mentioned in dialogue in THREE BUSINESSMEN.  One of the businessmen, Bennie (Miguel Sandoval) tells a story about a wonderful dog he had, Rex, who would spin on his back whenever he, Bennie, sang that haunting song.

When the film was almost finished, we still hadn't settled on an end title song.  Dan Wool, our composer, remarked that he was friends with the son of the original author of "Ghost Riders In The Sky," one Stan Jones Jr. He talked to the son of Stan, explained the weird and unique nature of the project, and got the rights to the song. 

AND WHENCE DEBBIE HARRY?

Dan, Tod Davies and I debated at length as to who should sing the haunting cowboy song, and though there were other good contenders, for me there was only one choice.  (Also I had done a video for Debbie and Iggy Pop in 1990 - based on the Cole Porter song "Did You Evah?", and we had acted together in an outstandingly-odd movie in Tucson, AZ:  DEAD BEAT.  And I had her phone number...) 

Debbie met Dan and recorded the song at a studio in New York just before the Blondie tour began. 

MIGHT YOU AND SHE COLLABORATE AGAIN?

I hope so.  Debbie is the godmother of punk, and has promised to have my babies, though due to her exhausting schedule of hits and touring this may have to be delayed.

SO WHAT'S THE MOVIE ABOUT?  NOT BUSINESSMEN?

Certainly is.  It's the story of Bennie and Frank, two independent businessmen, who meet by chance in the restaurant of the Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool.  Unable to find food therein, they set out in search of dinner.

THAT'S IT?   THAT'S WHAT IT'S ABOUT?

Yes.

IT DOESN'T SOUND VERY EXCITING.

It's extremely exciting.  Thrilling is not to strong a word.  But it creeps up on you.  It isn't a rock'n'roll themed piece like REPO MAN.  There isn't any rock'n'roll at all, in fact, until Debbie at the end.  Yet it's 100% subversive, and threatening to the MTV value system.   It's also very funny, but again, not like TV.   And it all happens in the course of one night.

HOW CAN IT HAPPEN IN ONE NIGHT AND TAKE PLACE IN FIVE DIFFERENT COUNTRIES?   IS IT DIFFERENT CHARACTERS IN EVERY PLACE?

No, it's the same two characters throughout.

AND WHY'S IT CALLED THREE BUSINESSMEN IF THERE ARE ONLY TWO?

There are three.   But the third businessman is otherwise engaged.

(WRITER / PRODUCER TOD DAVIES ON THREE BUSINESSMEN:)

WHY DID YOU MAKE THIS FILM?

TOD: Any time that you can make a film that you think you should make, you do it.  It happens so rarely. 

WHY DID YOU THINK YOU SHOULD MAKE IT?

TOD:    Because the subject matter of the script means a lot to both of us - that's from a writer's point of view.  From a producer's point of view, because I believe there's an entire audience "out there" of people who would like to see the kind of films I'd like to see - like DISCREET CHARM OF THE BOURGEOISIE or RULES OF THE GAME or SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT - entertaining art films.  I would have watched WAITING FOR GODOT if they'd made it into a movie.  It would have been great with Laurel and Hardy.

WHAT DOES THE SONG THAT DEBBIE HARRY SINGS MEAN -- GHOST RIDERS IN THE SKY?

TOD:  Originally, for the author, I suppose it was a vision.  But it's true now -- it seems like life is nothing but chasing after a ghost herd that we'll never catch.  People are being warned, that they're going to be roaming the globe forever unless they pay attention.  And they don't.

HOW MUCH DID THE FILM COST?

TOD:  It was funded by three sources, VPRO television, Film Fonds Rotterdam, and our own company, Exterminating Angel.  It was a labour of love for most of those involved, and when you get in a situation like that:  final cost, no man can say.

IS IT REALLY ABOUT BUSINESSMEN TRYING TO FIND THEIR DINNER?

TOD:  It's not what it's about.  It's just what happens.  There is some confusion that these two things are the same, in the movies.  But they are not.

WHY DID ALEX ACT IN IT?

TOD:  It is always good to cast the director because you have to pay one salary less, one less airplane ticket, one less per diem.  It's even better if you can persuade them to edit the film as well, and to go and get coffee for the security guys.

A clip from THREE BUSINESSMEN can be found on website affliate ExterminatingAngel.com.

An interview with composer Dan Wool can be found here.

 

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