Compiled by: Jack Foley
Q: Mr Levy, it was lovely to discover what a great singing
voice youve got
A: [Incredulously] Really?
Q: Have you been singing in secret before this role?
A: Er, no. I havent done a lot of singing in my career.
I did do a little folk singing in the Sixties. The first public
appearance I made in front of an audience, in public high school,
was singing in a group, because my brother was in a singing group
in high school and I saw him performing, and they were really
great. And I thought, wow, this is neat. So I formed a singing
group myself and thats how I started getting up in front
of people and doing stuff and eventually getting into sketch work
and comedy and stuff.
But I could not make a living doing this. I think I have a musical
ear and can carry a tune. The idea of doing this movie was a particularly
frightening thought. At the end of this movie, when we do the
concert, it was all filmed basically live.
Were not pre-recording the music and lip-synching to it.
Were actually filming it live. It put a little added pressure
on what you thought was a relatively good singing voice. It took
a little work and I think I can speak for Catherine, too, as two
of the relatively non-musician people. It was exciting and scary.
Christopher Guest: Well I think hes being a little
EL: [Ironically] Concise?
Christopher Guest: Modest. I think he has a wonderful singing
voice and is a talented musician. I couldnt have gone into
this film arbitrarily assigning people these roles if I knew they
I did a film a couple of years ago, called Best in Show, and when
we were editing, at the end of one of the reels, there were people
singing. It was Catherine and Eugene and Jane Lynch and Michael
Higgins, I believe, singing.
It just happened that during a break they were singing this amazing
arrangement. I found out that Michael Higgins had arranged it,
and it gave me a lot of the impetus to go into this film, knowing
that they could do this. And Michael Higgins arranges all the
vocals for the New Main Street Singers.
Q: Do you all basically share the same comic inspirations?
Christopher Guest: For me, as a child I spent a long
time here as a child Peter Sellers was my first idol, and
still is, I suppose. They were others, but that was the first
[Catherine OHara accidentally hits a glass]
Eugene Levy: The elevators here in case anybody wants
Catherine OHara: I guess I was first inspired by
my very funny parents, and I have six brothers and sisters, and
that was the way to get heard in our home, was to get a laugh.
I get asked who I like in movies, and there are people, but honestly,
it started at home!
Harry Shearer: Watching and listening to people it was
The Goons, from here, and Stan Friedberg and Bob and Ray, from
the States, and then I started working as a kid in showbusiness
and Jack Benning was enormously influential.
Eugene Levy: I would have to say that Jack Benning, for
me, was a big influence. I loved watching him and found him very
funny, and was very intrigued by the length of his takes, and
maybe Ive tried a little too hard to surpass the length
of his takes.
I didnt discover Peter Sellers quite as early as Chris and
Harry did, but he was definitely such an amazingly funny character
actor. I guess, for me, it was the television era, growing up
in the 50s the Jack Bennings and Jack Gleeson, and
those were my earliest influences.
Q: Mr Levy, where did you find Mitch how he speaks
and his body language. It rang so many bells with me about victims
of that year.
A: Im sorry to hear that. Christopher Guest: I
heard those bells!
Eugene Levy: I dont know where it came from. Theres
no real answer it wasnt modelled after any one person.
It wasnt modelled after Ozzy Osbourne. It wasnt modelled
after Brian Wilson, although when you look back, you say, boy,
I can see the similarities. It really wasnt the case.
We created the back story for this guy in the script and the closer
we got to shooting, I was getting more nervous that we had painted
such a picture of this man, who had just lost everything, and
he was so sedated on drugs and had left the sanatorium long before
the doctors thought he should. And when he shows up in the movie,
whats this man going to be like?
Honestly, it was a couple of things. I was in an art gallery a
month or so before we started shooting, and there was an artist
who was describing his work, and there was an intensity that he
was using to describe his work with three or four people standing
in front of a painting, and he was so unbelievably intense and
waaay over the top.
And I thought what is this guy like in real life? How intense
is this guy? Hes so close to being insane! That was the
first stepping stone into finding out who this guy was.
I modelled the voice patterns after this guy that I knew growing
up in my home town in Canada. He was a kind of clerical guy and
that was it. And the character really came when I saw what the
guy looked like and the little things I had been collecting over
the past few months just came out as this character and thats
really how it happened.