In­ter­view with Hol­ly­wood di­rec­tor Marty David­son

David­son cel­e­brates the 35th an­niver­sary of his movie ‘Ed­die and The Cruis­ers’

The Southern Berks News - - FEATURES - By Rodeo Marie Han­son

Re­cently I had the priv­i­lege of in­ter­view­ing film di­rec­tor Marty David­son in honor of the 35th an­niver­sary of the re­lease of the movie “Ed­die And The Cruis­ers” and the di­rec­tor’s birth­day on Nov. 7.

The movie tells the story of a fic­tional rock star named Ed­die Wil­son who van­ishes un­der strange cir­cum­stances in the 1960s and 20 years later his band, The Cruis­ers, tries to solve the mys­tery. The film’s theme song “On The Dark Side” was a big hit in 1984.

How did you first get in­ter­ested in mak­ing movies?

David­son: At first I wasn’t in­ter­ested in mak­ing movies. I thought I wanted to be in the the­ater. I was in a school play in the 6th grade when I was 11 years old, and I got a lot of laughs… I liked mak­ing all those peo­ple in the au­di­ence laugh at what I was do­ing and I never for­got that… I re­mem­ber lov­ing do­ing (the­ater), and that all be­came a part of my life, but when I grad­u­ated high school I thought I had to go off to col­lege and have a real ca­reer so I went to Syracuse Univer­sity to be­come a lawyer. I used to watch tele­vi­sion shows like “Perry Ma­son” and thought a lawyer got to per­form in front of a jury in front of an au­di­ence of on­look­ers, in front of a judge and that looked very the­atri­cal to me and in­ter­est­ing and that’s what I thought I wanted to do. After a year of col­lege I knew that wasn’t what I re­ally wanted. I wanted to be on stage, to be a the­ater ac­tor so I left col­lege to study act­ing and went to the Amer­i­can Academy Of Dra­matic Arts, and ev­ery­thing was geared to the the­ater. I started see­ing movies long be­fore you were born in I’d say 1960, and they were mak­ing some­thing called art films… I thought this is some­thing that in­ter­ests me. I want to get in­volved in film, make movies, lit­tle small films about real peo­ple.

Can you ex­plain what a di­rec­tor does and why it’s an im­por­tant job?

David­son: His is the vi­sion. We are cre­ative in­ter­pre­tive artists mean­ing that we are given a script a screen­play that some­body has writ­ten. We in­ter­pret what the writer is try­ing to say but then we’re also cre­ative peo­ple so we have to bring our own vi­sion to what that au­thor has given it. Each di­rec­tor will not only in­ter­pret the au­thor’s words, but he will add his own touch to it, his own cre­ativ­ity, and that is his over­all job, and he has to bring that to the screen and has to deal with maybe 150 peo­ple who are part of the pro­duc­tion. That starts with ac­tors, it’s a cin­e­matog­ra­pher, art di­rec­tors, pro­duc­tion de­sign­ers, set de­sign­ers, all these other peo­ple who are part of it and they all have to come to this per­son at some point and ask lots of ques­tions that help them do their job and it’s up to him to bring out the best in all these peo­ple with­out ever los­ing sight of the tone and the artistry that he wants to bring to the film.

As a di­rec­tor who has worked on many movies what is the eas­i­est and hard­est part of the job?

David­son: There is no easy part to the job. For ev­ery sin­gle day that you wake up even in your dreams... you are con­cen­trated. You have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to not only the au­thor but also the fi­nancier and the ac­tors to help them be at their best. It is life con­sum­ing. It is ev­ery sin­gle minute of ev­ery sin­gle day that you’re mak­ing a movie and you are think­ing how do I get the best of my­self. How do I not waste a mo­ment of my day to con­cen­trate and give ev­ery­thing in my soul, re­ally, ev­ery­thing I have to of­fer to this pro­duc­tion so that we bring out the best that every­one in­volved has to of­fer, that’s the hard­est part. The eas­i­est part is to cre­ate an at­mos­phere and a play­ground so all these other 150 peo­ple who are part of it are at their best and then sit back and watch what they bring to it and take plea­sure in their ta­lent.

What was it like to work with Sylvester Stal­lone and Henry Win­kler on the movie “The Lords Of Flat­bush”?

David­son: Ba­si­cally for all of us it was a be­gin­ning. It was a start and I would say that I been at it now over 40 years, I’ve never en­joyed any­thing more in my life than that ex­pe­ri­ence for many rea­sons: for the op­por­tu­nity to be fi­nally di­rect­ing a movie but more be­cause we started with to­tal in­no­cence. All we were go­ing to do was work to­gether and try and see if we lend our tal­ents to one an­other that this would be a be­gin­ning for all of us, and we were open to each other and we trusted each other. There re­ally wasn’t much of a script to be­gin with so what I did was for a pe­riod of 7 weeks be­fore we started shoot­ing, I met with these ac­tors ev­ery sin­gle day and we would do im­pro­vi­sa­tions. I would set up sit­u­a­tions and they would use their own language, their own tal­ents, cre­ativ­ity to cre­ate these scenes. Then I would take those scenes, those thoughts they gave me in those im­pro­vi­sa­tions and put it into screen­play form. We were al­ways look­ing for how we could build this piece to­gether, and they plunged in and they trusted me and I trusted them, and it was glo­ri­ous.

What ad­vice do you have for young peo­ple who want to be­come di­rec­tors?

David­son: It’s not an easy choice. Some­body fa­mous once said some­thing I live by. His name was Branch Rickey. He owned the Brook­lyn Dodgers base­ball team when I was grow­ing up. He’s fa­mous for bring­ing Jackie Robin­son to base­ball, and sign­ing him the first African Amer­i­can to play in the ma­jor leagues. He once said that luck is the residue of de­sign. Now you have to be very lucky to be­come a film di­rec­tor. There are only a hand­ful of them. It’s like say­ing you want to be a pro­fes­sional bas­ket­ball player. There aren’t a lot of them. A lot of peo­ple would like to be pro­fes­sional bas­ket­ball play­ers but only a hand­ful get to do it, that is also true of di­rect­ing films. Only a hand­ful of peo­ple get to do it so it re­quires a lot of things: a cer­tain ded­i­ca­tion, com­mit­ment, tenac­ity, and luck. And luck is de­scribed as the residue of de­sign so ev­ery­thing is about what you put into it. What you de­sign for your life, your com­mit­ment to some­thing, your be­lief in your­self. Your com­mit­ment to this dream of yours, and one thing you should never for­get is to be open to ev­ery­thing. To be open to mu­sic, to be open to art, to be open to light, to be open to any form of cre­ativ­ity through ar­chi­tec­ture. All of those things are re­quired to be­come a film di­rec­tor.

Rodeo thanks Marty David­son for giv­ing the world won­der­ful films like “Ed­die And The Cruis­ers.” Spe­cial thanks to Sandy David­son for the pic­tures of the pro­duc­tion of the film.

Kid re­viewer Rodeo Marie Han­son 12, Fleet­wood, con­trib­utes en­ter­tain­ment col­umns to Berks-Mont News­pa­pers.

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