Oh. My. Actual. God. I just met John Landis.

And it was more awesome than you could possibly imagine…

Oh. My. Actual. God. I just met John Landis.

So I arrive at Sadler’s Wells theatre, about to see Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty, and I spot a grey-bearded man who reminds me of one of my heroes. As I pay for my cab, I catch a hint of an American accent and I think – ‘Actually, that’s got to be him! It is him!

I tell the girl, she doesn’t get it. I’m freaking out (quietly) inside. I don’t get starstruck, but John Landis? Come on!

Once we’re seated I nip out to get a programme and he’s still outside, chatting away. I check my phone, google his face; yup – that’s DEFINITELY HIM.

Everso politely I interrupt and explain I’m a huge fan and that, while i don’t want to disturb his day, I’d love to get a photo because – and I quote – ‘…Blues Brothers is pretty much on repeat in my house’.

‘We were just talking about that!’ he replies, and then goes on to tell me about how they organised the chases, the crashes, the number of cars they used, how they shot certain scenes, what techniques they had to employ, what permission they did (and didn’t get). He was just so warm and giving… I was speechless.

One of my all time top directors, explaining to me the details and background to one of my all time favourite films.

Writing this up on my phone quickly, before the curtain raises, I’m dumbstruck and welling up with tears of happiness.

What an amazing moment and what an amazing guy.


EDIT: I’m home now and still in total and utter glee. Awesome things I learnt from John Landis this afternoon include:

  • The Nazi Car Drop – the only way Cook County would allow them to (actually) drop a car from 1400ft into the middle of the city was if Landis’ production team could provide proof (!!!) that it would hit the target they said it would. That meant driving out to a corn field, dropping three cars from a helicopter, filming the whole thing and then showing the tapes to the officials that look after the city and the air-space, as well as the police! ‘…they ah’d and umm’d about it a little bit, but hey we proved we could do it – so we did it!’ – JL
  • Against commonly-held opinion (and Wikipedia!) Blues Brothers did not hold the record for most cars destroyed in one film. That was an urban myth! Mr Landis told me the film that actually held that accolade was the original 1974 version of Gone in 60 Seconds‘…if car crashes are your thing, you’ll love it.’ – JL
  • The 60 or 70 cars they did have for the shoot were constantly kept in good shape by a 24hr auto-shop they built on the set. – ‘…Oh, we had another 20 cop cars but we weren’t allowed to crash those.’ – JL

And then he started talking about Batman… I actually died.

All of that in a five minute conversation. I could’ve stood and talked with him for hours.

I love you John Landis, you just made my year.

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Author: James Whatley

Experienced advertising and communications strategist working in brand, games, and entertainment. I got ❤️ for writing, gaming, and figuring stuff out. I'm @whatleydude pretty much everywhere that matters. Nice to meet you x

14 thoughts on “Oh. My. Actual. God. I just met John Landis.”

  1. How wonderful, I wish I’d talked to Ridley Scott when he was outside our building filming a while ago, I had to ask him to move so I could get in, he was busy chatting to Michael Fassbender. They were casually chatting in public while Brad Pitt had to hide in the bar.

    Ridely FUCKING Scott!

    James Reply:

    I know what you mean. The first time I saw him I left it (you know how it is, you don’t want to annoy someone during their day etc) but I just couldn’t pass up the chance.

    The second time I saw him I was like: ‘Right, it’s now or never.’


  2. Every interview I’ve seen him do, you can tell he just loves to talk about his films and it’s never from an egotistical angle, either, it’s all about the love of making the film and how it comes out on the big screen. Personally, whilst I love Blues Brothers, I would have been all about An American Werewolf in London.

    James Reply:

    You’re totally right Adam! He was so warm and giving, it was unbelievable!

  3. How wonderful when your heroes turn out to be such nice people. So glad you got a chance to meet him and chat and that he really is that cool a dude in real life.

  4. That’s super awesome, one of my favourite directors too! Excellent story to end the year with as well.

    Happy New Year James!

  5. Caught this briefly in a notspot in Oxford on Sunday and actually had to do a screen grab of my twitter feed as I couldn’t favourite it. Glad I did!
    Now wishing this keyboard made green letters. Sooooooo envious!!
    Were you on a mission from God?

  6. That’s just magnificent.

    John fricking Landis!

    I’ve seen Robert Plant in person twice now, and turned into a mouth-breathing sweaty idiot both times, so I admire your composure.

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