John Muto

So we were working on the picture, probably a month out or something. We were using this abandoned high school in Winnetka as a studio, big old high school gymnasium, perfect stage in some ways. And the producers, we had two young producers, you know contemporaries of Chris’ at NYU, and they came around and told us that the movie was over, go home. We’d been there quite a while. I had my whole crew working. But as soon as they walked out the door another guy walked in behind them and said, just go to lunch and relax. And when we came back we were employees of Fox. So obviously there was some back-stage maneuvering going on.

We never had a lot of money but that was a movie where everyone was on the same page. Chris and the director of photography and I were like three brothers. I don’t remember ever fighting with them about anything. The 1st AD had done a couple of John Hughes movies and my understanding was that John Hughes movies were always sort of a big mess, you know, because he’d be very capricious in his ideas.

We were having a production meeting and Hughes was invited and we were all a little worried about that and the 1st AD guy said, Don’t worry about it, he’ll be here for 10-20 minutes he’ll get bored and he’ll leave. So we had a production meeting and we set it up on a big u-shaped table. Everybody was there, Chris, and the first AD were right in the middle. I was there and Julio the DP was across from me. Everybody could hear what the three of us were saying. And we just… Made the movie. Described what we were going to do. The three of us knew everything. We had it all figured it out and everyone just listened. Hughes stuck around for the whole meeting and afterwards he chose to collar me and say, Is this the kind of meeting you guys always have? I go, Well, what other kind of meeting would you have? Isn’t that the whole idea of the meeting? Cause he had never had that.

I think he’s a wonderful film maker, by the way, and in contravention to most people I have nothing but good things to say about John. He watched out for me when other people who knew I was out of town all alone, didn’t. This guy who was supposed to be a whatever, he was the guy who took me out to dinner, took me to a hockey game. You know it’s like me and Cameron.

AS: You often hear that James Cameron was hard to work with back then.
JM: If you are competent there are no problems between you and Cameron, that’s my experience. I never saw him beat up on anyone who didn’t have it coming. And when he beat up on them they deserved it. It was a pleasure to see someone in the movie business get beat up for a real thing rather than get beat up for some fantasy. No, I have nothing but good things to say. I wish Jim all the luck in the world. I hope that Avatar goes through the roof because that’s real film making. That’s a film that’s totally synthetic and yet I’m sure will have enormous heart and emotion. He’s our greatest living feminist film maker and he’s one of our great romantic film makers. Fuck all that technical shit. I mean people don’t really look at those films and see how positive the values are. I mean even Scorcese, who I think is just the greatest- his film Casino’s scary, I mean viscous. There’s a meanness in some of that, you know? But Jim is great.


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