Q: Sarah Collins: In the film, when Claire meets Drew on the plane, she is speaking with him about what she thinks names mean. She says that a Ben is predictable, and she never met an Ellen she liked. So I was wondering: What would you say about your name? What would you say that a Cameron is described as?
Cameron Crowe: The only other Cameron that I ever met besides Cameron Diaz, who seems really different from me, was a girl that I really liked that wouldn’t go out with me, and that was a long time ago. And she seemed really different from me. So, it’s hard. I don’t know if there is a Cameron description really. But I’m honored by the question. I would hope that it would be somebody who is trying to follow their instincts. That’s something that I’m always trying to do, be it in life or pursuit of making a movie.
Q: Luke Hickman: Your film Elizabethtown has been compared to Garden State. How does that you make you feel when your projects are compared to other filmmakers’?
CC: Well, thanks. I loved Garden State. I didn’t see it until we were finished with the basic edit of the movie. I guess I knew I would probably love it because I had read enough about the inspiration for the movie, and that Zack Braff was a real music lover. And he was doing a kind of a dark character comedy about love and loss, and that kind of movie I’ve always loved. I knew Elizabethtown certainly dealt with some of those themes. But when I finally saw it, I loved it and knew how different it was. To me it felt like there was more kinship to The Graduate. I really loved Garden State and loved how different they were and how different a movie like that is from a lot of the other movies being made. But I think the world is big enough for two movies about loss and a journey back home for a funeral. Especially two movies as different as that. I met Zack Braff and had a great talk with him, and he thought the same thing: that the movie was really different. He’s a great guy, and he was like, “You should use The Shins in your movie.” I was like, “No, I think you have the copyright on The Shins,” though I had been playing The Shins on the set of Elizabethtown. I think the biggest similarity I saw was that we both like The Shins. But that’s his territory now.
Q: Lori Bartlett: Your dialogue is amazing. You said that you were interested in the way people talk. Is that where you draw your inspiration from? Conversations you’ve had or conversations you wish you had?
CC: Really, conversations I wish I had. Or sometimes you hear things in life. I remember as early as when I was researching Fast Times, I overheard this conversation where this girl said to her boyfriend, “I don’t want to use sex as a tool.” And I just thought that was so funny. Then I built a whole scene in the book around it, and then it ended up in the movie, too. And I just thought, “You can’t beat real life.” The way people really talk is often as poetic or more poetic than the things that you make up. So being a fan of real life is what influences that. Keep a notebook. It’s so good to jot things down as you overhear them, or you might hear yourself say something and go, “Wow, I just said that.” That would be good for the scene, I want to write.