MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Peter Gabriel was given the wrong movie when he was asked to approve the use of “Your Eyes” in the film “Say Anything.”
One of the most iconic scenes in romantic comedy film history came in Cameron Crowe’s 1989 film, “Say Anything.” John Cusack’s Lloyd Dobler was in a hard-to-believe post-graduation summer relationship with Ione Skye’s Diane Court, the valedictorian of their class, who was headed to England for a fellowship at the end of the summer. Her strict father (John Mahoney) convinced her to break things off with Dobler, considering him to be an ill-suited match for his daughter, especially since she would be leaving the country soon. She agreed and broke up with Lloyd.
Undeterred, Lloyd stood outside her bedroom window one night and held a boombox above his head, playing Peter Gabriel’s “Your Eyes,” the same song that was playing on the car stereo when they first slept together earlier in the summer.
SPOILER ALERT! This romantic gesture unsurprisingly wins her back and they end up together.
However, the film almost didn’t have the song in it and the reason why is fascinating.
In a great interview with “Entertainment Weekly”‘s Jason Adams in 2009, Cameron Crowe explained that while he really wanted the song, the studio weren’t exactly thrilled with the early cuts of the movie and weren’t inclined to go to bat for him to make sure that he got the song. Luckily, it turned out that Gabriel’s girlfriend of the time, Rosanna Arquette, put in a good word for them.
Crowe then explained:
[S]o he asked to see the movie to make the decision. And I was given a day to call him at his studio, I think it was in Germany, and so I got up super early to make this call, they put me on the phone with him after we’d sent him a tape, but I knew he’s seen the movie and stuff. And he got on and there was this kind of you know, ethereal voice, Peter Gabriel, really nice, and he said [accent], “I appreciate you asking for the song. It’s a very personal song to me and I just hope you don’t mind that have to turn you down.”
I just remember being in the kitchen and just going, “Oh man.” I said I understood and I appreciated it and was he sure and he said yes, he was sure, and I was saying goodbye to him and I remember the phone was like on its way to the cradle, I think we’d already even said goodbye. And I just, like, was seized with this thing and I pulled the phone back up and I go, “Why? I got to ask you why. Why can’t we have the song? Why was it wrong?”
And he said, “Well when he takes the overdose it just didn’t feel like the right kind of use of the song.” And I’m like, “When he takes the overdose?” He said, “Yeah, you’re making the John Belushi story, right?” I said, “No, no, no. It’s a movie about the guy in high school with the trench coat.” And he’s like, “Oh, the high school movie. We haven’t watched that yet.” Hallelujah! “Please watch the high school movie and let me know if it works in the high school movie.” And he said, “Oh yeah yeah yeah, okay, great.” And then we got the word back that he said yes.
Isn’t that amazing? They sent him the wrong film! The film about John Belushi, “Wired,” starring a young Michael Chiklis.
Thank goodness for Crowe not letting it end with just a “no”!
The legend is…
Thanks to Jason Adams and Cameron Crowe for the information and thanks to Peter Gabriel for changing his mind!
Be sure to check out my archive of Movie Legends Revealed for more urban legends about the world of film.
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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