Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Sacha Baron Cohen Reportedly Returning To Write, Produce, Star In & Direct The Freddie Mercury Biopic Sacha Baron Cohen Reportedly Returning To Write, Produce, Star In & Direct The Freddie Mercury Biopic Watch: James Bond Is Back In First Trailer For 'Spectre' Starring Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista, & More Watch: James Bond Is Back In First Trailer For 'Spectre' Starring Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista, & More Terrence Malick's Next Film With Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara & Michael Fassbender Reportedly Gets Titled Terrence Malick's Next Film With Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara & Michael Fassbender Reportedly Gets Titled Watch: Jake Gyllenhaal Gets Bloody And Bruised In First Trailer For Boxing Drama 'Southpaw' Watch: Jake Gyllenhaal Gets Bloody And Bruised In First Trailer For Boxing Drama 'Southpaw' New Infographic Lays Out Canonical 'Star Wars' Timeline With Films, TV And Books New Infographic Lays Out Canonical 'Star Wars' Timeline With Films, TV And Books First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join Watch: Explore The Loneliness Of Sofia Coppola's Films With This Supercut Watch: Explore The Loneliness Of Sofia Coppola's Films With This Supercut 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' Watch: Trailer For 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Unrated Blu-Ray Edition, Will Also Feature An Alternate Ending Watch: Trailer For 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Unrated Blu-Ray Edition, Will Also Feature An Alternate Ending New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Spike Jonze Says His Old, Unproduced Beastie Boys Film 'We Can Do It' Would Have Been "Surreal" & "Ridiculous"

The Playlist By Rodrigo Perez | The Playlist December 20, 2013 at 12:36PM

It's not the most well-traveled piece of "what could have been" pop culture lore, but in the mid 1990s, soon after their collective success with the now iconic and indelible "Sabotage" video, filmmaker Spike Jonze and the seminal hip-hop trio Beastie Boys, headed to Los Angeles to write a movie. The film of course, never came to pass. The director and musicians remained friends and continued to work together, but their collaborations became fewer as Jonze moved away from music videos into feature-length filmmaking and Beastie Boys albums became an infrequent event, where several years could pass between them.
0
Spike Jonze, Beasties

It's not the most well-traveled piece of "what could have been" pop culture lore, but in the mid 1990s, soon after their collective success with the now iconic and indelible "Sabotage" video, filmmaker Spike Jonze and the seminal hip-hop trio Beastie Boys, headed to Los Angeles to write a movie. The film of course, never came to pass. The director and musicians remained friends and continued to work together, but their collaborations became fewer as Jonze moved away from music videos into feature-length filmmaking and Beastie Boys albums became an infrequent event, where several years could pass between them. (Beasties co-founder Adam Yauch passed away last year from cancer effectively ending the group.)

Not many details were ever revealed about the project, but in a recent interview with Spike Jonze, promoting his new sci-fi-ish romance picture “Her,” the filmmaker told us the movie was called "We Can Do It" and shared some character details and perhaps not the story itself, but some tastes of its overall wacky tone and feel. We ran our in-depth Jonze interview yesterday (which you can read here) and decided to excerpt our Beasties conversation, as follows, below. "Her" opens in limited release today, December 19th and opens nationwide on January 10th.

I’ve gotta ask because I’ve been thinking about Adam Yauch who passed away last year. That Beastie Boys movie talked about several years ago, was that real? Did you guys write a screenplay?
Yeah, at one point, a long time ago. After we did [the Beastie Boys video for] “Sabotage,” after that record. The four of us wrote a script together, it was really fun.

What would that have been like?
It would have been ridiculous for one. But they all played four or five or six different characters in it.

Did it have a title?
Yes, it was called “We Can Do This” because it had ... it was so surreal and out there and [Yauch’s filmmaker alter-ego] Nathanial Hornblower was a character as the director. One of the characters from “Sabotage,” Sir Stuart Wallace, was a character. Both played by Yauch and it just would’ve been ridiculous and fun.

It seems like it was born out of the spirit of the absurdness of that video and the things you were making together in that era.
Yeah, it wasn't ... there were no 1970s cops in it, but it was definitely in the same spirit.

Was it actually about something?
Yeah. It was about Hornblower. Mike [D.] played a Country star [Country Mike]—those [country] songs [he eventually released] we wrote for the movie actually. Adam Horowitz played this kid, Nino Vincenzi, who lived on Roosevelt Island with his Dad who was a mechanic and was a little bit a John Travolta [in] “Saturday Night Fever” type of kid. [His character] had all these dreams and aspirations, but he was awkward and couldn't dance. So he didn't even have that going for him. But yeah, I forget all the different characters but ... it would have been funny to see them on screen.

You guys both matured at the same time, started out absurd and playful, and then the work got a bit more emotional and mature in beautiful ways. But during the “Sabotage” period it was like you guys were made for each other.
They've been a big influence on me my whole life. Getting to work with them was a big influence on me. Horowitz is starting to act again. He did a movie this year [ed. Noah Baumbach’s “While We’re Young] and that guy is good on screen. So charismatic.

Right, he acted in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s a little bit.
I think if anybody's smart they should cast him. I will cast him for sure. It's like with ["Her" star] Scarlett Johansson when you have it you have it. Adam is cool in the deepest way.

Yep, he had that punk spark. Even a frontman quality that he never really used in the Beastie Boys.
No one was the leader. He could have been, but it wasn’t that kind of band.

This article is related to: Interviews, Interviews, Spike Jonze, Beastie Boys


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome

E-Mail Updates