John Landis (Interview)

John Landis (Interview)


Release Date: Oct 29th, 2010
Certificate: 15
Running Time: 91 minutes

Director: John Landis

Screenplay by: Nick Moorcroft and Piers Ashworth

Cast: Tim Curry, Simon Pegg, Isla Fisher, Andy Serkis, Tom Wilkinson, Jenny Agutter, Stephen Merchant, Hugh Bonneville, Georgia King, David Schofield, Jessica Hynes, Ronnie Corbett, Paul Whitehouse and Christopher Lee

Burke and Hare, the new film directed by the legendary John Landis and starring Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis and Isla Fisher had its World Premiere on Monday 25th October in London at the Curzon in Chelsea. Static Mass were invited along to the red carpet event and got to chat with the man himself, John Landis, about his comedy heroes over the years, working with Ronnie Corbett and what he’s going to be doing next!

Landis’s first feature film as a director was Schlock, made in 1971 and released in 1973. Since then he has made notable contributions to cinema, television and of course music videos with the infamous Thriller by Michael Jackson and is regarded as one of the iconic directors of the 80’s alongside Joe Dante, Sam Rami and Steven Spielberg. Landis’s best films are characterised by combining unusually dark elements of comedy with visual horror, and he has often spoken about his love for the old Ealing Studio movies like Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) and The Ladykillers (1955).

His latest film is based on the true life case of Burke and Hare, two 19th Century mass murderers who killed 16 people and sold their bodies to a medical researcher in Edinburgh. This will be the 8th time their story has been told in film, but it’s the first time they are portrayed as likeable characters with heavy dozes of comedy to lighten the mood.

Patrick: There’s always been a lot of comedy in your work and I’ve been curious about your comedy heroes over the years.

Landis: Oh I have hundreds of them! Hundreds! Laurel and Hardy, Buster Keaton, the Marx Brothers, Abott and Costello, Monty Python, I mean hundreds of them, literally hundreds! Harold Lloyd, are you kidding! Bob Hope, hundreds! Jerry Lewis!

Landis’s face lights up as he recalls the names of these comedy greats from the Golden Age of Hollywood, but as a director he’s not only influenced by many of them, but also got to work with some of them as well.


  • Burke & Hare (2010)
  • Blue’s Brothers 2000 (1998)
  • Beverly Hills Cop III (1994)
  • Coming to America (1988)
  • Three Amigos (1986)
  • Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)
  • Trading Places (1983)
  • An American Werewolf in London (1981)
  • The Blues Brothers (1980)
  • Animal House (1978)

Landis: I’ve been very lucky in my career; I’m old enough to have now worked with everybody from Bob Hope, George burns and Jerry Lewis to Eddie Murphy, John Belushi, Simon Pegg and Steve Martin! I’ve been blessed. Ronnie Corbett, one of the best, I’m so happy to have worked with him!

Although it seems like the director has been away for a while, this couldn’t be further from the truth. He has in fact been very busy; directing television shows such as Pysch (2008), Fear Itself (2008) and Masters of Horror (2006), made appearances in films like Spider-Man 2 (2004) and produced numerous television movies and documentaries including the Emmy Award winning Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project (2007).

Patrick: What’s next for you? More documentaries, films or television?

Landis: The next thing I’m doing is a commercial in Tokyo, but other than that I go to Rome on Friday to open this picture. Then I go to Havana to teach with my wife. Then I go back to LA to try to get a job!

Burke and Hare is released in cinemas from Friday 29th October 2010 and we will have a review for you, along with more interviews with the cast and one of the films’ writers Nick Moorcroft, on the same day.

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