Pillbox

Elizabethtown talks

Cameron Crowe has a few good movies under his belt, to say the least. His films have revolved around a high-powered sports agent, a teen tagging along behind a band, and a magazine owner who becomes trapped in a mask. Now he takes on something a little more down-to-earth. Almost.

Elizabethtown, Crowe?s next film, will hit the big screen this Friday. This story follows a slightly less exciting character than those in Jerry Maguire or Almost Famous. Orlando Bloom plays Drew Baylor, a failed shoe designer who returns to small?town Kentucky after his father dies. Drew is suicidal after being fired and dumped almost simultaneously before he makes the trek home.

Crowe is pretty familiar with the formula of ?young man with everything loses everything and finds love, peace along the road to recovery.? Will it work for him again?

The Tartan got a rare opportunity to join a number of other small publications in a conference-style interview of Crowe. Of course, we jumped at the chance to ask a few questions and hear about the upcoming film.

One thing that Crowe has become known for is the use of music in all of his films. Almost Famous revolved around music and the aspirations of a teen writer. Of the music in his work, Crowe said, ?Loving music is constantly valuable to me.? He added that music played a special role in Elizabethtown. ?Music sort of serves as the voice of the dead father ... which gave voice to a dead character.?

Elizabethtown has a personal connection to Crowe. When Crowe was asked what inspired him to make the film, he replied, ?Elizabethtown is a tribute to my dad and is somewhat of a love letter to his home state, Kentucky.... Generally the stuff that comes from your heart is the stuff that most people find is universally true.?

We also asked him about the overarching trend in his films: A young sensitive man experiences a fall from grace and then reconciles with it through love. He laughed and said, ?Not my next one.? Crowe continued, ?I look at it as a revisit to a character [who is] kind of a warrior for optimism. And I think that?s a hero, now.... I wanted to write a character like that one more time.?

But, we protested, Orlando Bloom has generally been cast with a sword or a bow, fighting and clubbing his way to the top ? not as a sensitive shoe creator. Why did Cameron cast Bloom as Drew Baylor? ?I liked that he was surprising in the way he dealt with some of those things like failure and feelings of suicide. I liked that he kind of masked the obvious side of that. [But] if you looked in his eyes, it was there...?

?He also worked well with the music I wanted to use,? Crow added. ?And I didn?t want to go with somebody who played a version of a young man in a quest for emotional depth before.?

Cameron Crowe has gotten a fair amount of recognition as a writer and director. After all, ?Show me the money,? a phrase from Jerry Maguire, was on everyone?s lips in the late ?90s.

Whether Elizabethtown will succeed or not with the general public is uncertain, but we predict Crowe?s good humor and passion for the personal elements in every story will shine through and carry him to more projects, even if the film flops.